Join the Resolution

New Year’s resolutions can be tedious, disappointing, and trite, but I do value the whole process of reflecting on my life and how I choose to spend my time.

Over the past week at home, I’ve been editing a document that contains random bullet points of minor and not-so-minor things that I’d like to focus on this coming year.  Some of these things are concrete.  Some are not.  But I think some of the more meaningful items are more oriented to how I approach my life, how I think about myself and my family, and how I will regulate my behavior so that I can have a more peaceful, restful, and enjoyable year.

I’m not going to detail the whole list here, but I’d like to mention some of the more important resolutions.  In no particular order:

  • Stay far, far away from all social media and avoid all blogs (except this one, of course!) for the entire month of January.  I did this one last year, and it was GREAT.  It got me off on the right foot for the year in terms of directing ALL of my screen time to academic endeavors.  I felt like I had renewed focus on research, I wasn’t constantly checking my phone for status updates or other interruptions, and I wasn’t unfairly comparing myself to everyone else under the sun.  This is a resolution I will have EVERY year, and I’ll probably also adopt it for the month of June as well, for a mid-year reality check.  Let the palette-cleansing begin!


  • Exercise once each week.  Why not 3 times each week?  Because I don’t think I can fit it in.  If I aspired to 3 x/week, I’d get stressed, frustrated, and would feel like I had failed.  Once each week—-I can manage that.  I’ll get *some* exercise, which is better than nothing.  And I know that I can do it, especially if it’s only once a week.  As for the type of exercise, it will really be whatever I’m able to fit in, or whatever I’m in the mood for.  I start tomorrow.  Tomorrow I run.


  • When I get stressed/anxious/agitated/frustrated, stop what I am doing, take a breath, and try to figure out where those feelings are coming from.  Do less if I have to.  Always do less if it means maintaining my sanity.  I’ve been overwhelmed this year.  That much is clear.  I don’t always feel like I have the tools to manage those feelings, but I think I bring much of it on myself by trying to do too many things at once, and being completely unrealistic in my expectations of myself.  So this year I am going to devote a lot of effort to trying to do LESS and to being aware of my limitations—and when I feel like I’m stretching myself too far, training myself to reign it back in.


  • Be present.  Talk about not being quantifiable!  This is the kind of thing that gives me the fantods as a researcher—how does one MEASURE “being present?”  I don’t know, but I think we all know what this intangible state feels like.  When we’re present, we’re fully experiencing something, we are more empathic, we are better listeners, we feel more connected in our sensory and interpersonal experiences.  For months (particularly in the summer and early fall), I felt like I had a cloak around me, or like I was in a fog.  Like when I was with people, I wasn’t really with them.  Something was separating them from me (or me from them), and it was almost like a physical barrier at times.  I could touch my boys but not be touching them.  Or cuddle them and nurse them, but feel nothing.  My mind was somewhere else, and I knew it, but I couldn’t bring myself back.  I know it was (or is) anxiety and depression, and I’m hoping that my awareness of it will help me get over it.  My research group incorporates meditation into our meetings on a monthly basis, so I’m hoping that these sessions will help me with this resolution.  And/but/so the first resolution up at the top of this list is related, in that disconnecting from social media will help me reconnect with what is happening around me here and now.


  • You know, I wasn’t going to have this resolution, but since there is so much snow on the ground, I’ll just go ahead and say that I really want to learn how to cross-country ski.  Wouldn’t that just address everything on this list in one fell swoop?


  • Continue to do something nice for myself once each month.  In January—cashing in my massage that Rob got me as a Christmas gift.  Can. Not. Wait.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s.  Take care of yourselves and hug your loved peeps tight.

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