How to Make 2015 Your Final Sucky Year

31 Dec

 

 

 

New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. This week, radio show hosts all over the country laughed haughtily at the thought that America would stuff into gyms across the nation for one solid month, only to trickle off to the actual gym-goers (the ones who were there before the New Year) by February.

 It appears that as a society we’ve become accustomed to making light of our supposed inability to find the time, energy, or resolve to – well – have resolve.

I think that’s a real bummer, man. We’re better than that. And all our sitting around reaffirming each other’s mediocrity isn’t doing us (or the human race at large) any favors. Why do we do that? Probably because it’s cozy. I know from personal experience that it’s far more comfortable to sit on the couch with my fat rolls tucked into my underwear playing video games and eating the entire box of macaroni and cheese than it is to announce my intention to do otherwise and then act on it.

That last part is key – the acting on it part. You usually have to put on pants for that.

This is about more than going to the gym, though that tends to be the most common resolution. This is about taking control of your year, and consequently, your life. If that means gym visits and personal health, so be it. It probably means something else.

How was 2015 for you? What happened?

For me it was pretty terrible, all things considered. It was full of cancer and seizures and suicide. It brought job losses and emotional turbulence and big, difficult moves. It wasn’t a repeater for me, you know, if I have my way and all. But I don’t measure my years by what happened to me; I can’t control any of that. Instead, I measure my years by what I did and how I navigated them. And part of that is whether I accomplished my resolution.

How many times have you thought about what a waste of life it seems to be to work, sleep, and pass away? Have you ever considered that you work your entire life for the promise of retirement and that by the time you retire, you don’t really have the friends, income, or energy to do the things you imagined you’d do? How often have you thought about all the things you would make time for or do or improve upon if or when you have the time to do it?

The nice thing about a new year is that it’s an easily defined point in time. It’s an obvious and complete cycle. It’s an opportunity for you to acknowledge the level of suck you have in a specific area and vow to improve upon it in a concrete way by the next year. It doesn’t have to be a time to mock how we’ll probably never change. It can be a time to authentically reflect on whether you’ve grown as person – and it should be.

You don’t have to declare some monumental achievement. You could try to progressively get better at something (dancing), or take on a specific adventure (go to another country). You could try every day to do one very simple and small thing consistently so that by the end of the year you’ve formed a real habit (eat breakfast when you wake up). Whatever it is, make it something that speaks to the voice in the back of your brain that yoinks at you and says you should do it and that you’d be happier, healthier, and prouder if you did. If you’re not a newcomer to resolution-making, then you should go big. Go scary. Pick the undoable and figure out how to do it. Those ones are my favorite.

It’s fine to be worried or afraid. There’s a reason you haven’t been able to do whatever the thing is yet. Maybe it’s hard to find the time or the energy or the courage. But you’re going to. And it all starts with finding the thing, calling it out, and acknowledging that you seriously suck at it.

There are a variety of ways you can go about this, friends, and while I don’t have any failsafe map for you, I do have a few suggestions. I have maps for 1-Day Challenges, 30-Day Challenges, and Year-Long Challenges up there in my handy dandy menu on the right (How to Suck Less). There isn’t any one right way to go about personal growth, but there’s definitely a wrong way and it’s to stay stagnant.  You could make this the year that you rekindle an old, lost friendship. Or the year that you finally sorted through everything in your attic. You could trace your ancestry or join a club.  I’ve used my recent years to conquer crippling anxiety, to do new and terrifying things to make my life more interesting and filled to the brim with stories, and to run 10Ks and half marathons.  I can tell you with certainty that the years that I sought out to do something specific were filled with intention and mindfulness and growth. And the years that I didn’t were dark and dull and wasted.

This may beg the question of what I’m signing up for this year, but I’m going to wait on that. I’ve got my plan and I have every intention of executing it. But for now let’s focus on you. Don’t worry about starting exactly on the 1st, either. Your year starts when you say it does. Take the time that you need to genuinely assess yourself, your inhibitions, and your wants. Find something measurable and set up the goal posts. Then move. Reflect. Move. Reflect. Growth is inevitable.

It’s time you took control of your life, don’t you think? Next year you should tell the story of what you did with your time, not of what happened to you. And don’t worry – if you feel like giving up, think you don’t have the time or energy to keep on keepin’ on, or if you massively fall on your face – you’ve always got my saga here, chronicled in great and embarrassing detail for either encouragement or commiseration.  Start small, or go big. Do you. But certainly do something.

Last year could be the very last year that you sucked. If you want it to be.

See you in 2016. 

 

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12 Responses to “How to Make 2015 Your Final Sucky Year”

  1. Ice_Badger December 31, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    2016 is going to be awesome! We will do awesome things and overcome the crappy things that happen!
    I am going to try a new thing…starting my goals off at the beginning of a year, rather than the middle… I am just not 100% sure what they are yet…

    Happy new year, here’s to making 2016 great! I loook forward to seeing what you do, you are still my inspiration, it is entirely your fault that i have changed my life completely for the better you know!!

    Like

    • Jackie January 18, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

      All right, we’re winding down to the last leg of January here (can you believe it?) Fill me in when you know what big plans you have this year!

      You know what I really like about you? That you say I’m inspiring even when I feel like a total dud. This year will be a good year indeed. I’ll be cheering you on, wherever it takes you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ice_Badger January 19, 2016 at 1:20 am #

        Well you inspire me! You did this first and made me do it and look where that has gone, so you must be inspiring!
        I can hardly believe it is January let alone nearly the end!!
        Big plan number one for the year is doing my insanity instructor course on Friday (eeeek) this week!!
        After that my goal is to find enough time to sit down and write some goals :-S

        Like

  2. Jules January 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    Happy New Year! Greetings from the west coast.

    Like

    • Jackie January 18, 2016 at 10:55 pm #

      Happy New Year Jules! I hope it’s off to an excellent start for you. I’d love to hear about any big plans you have this year.

      Like

  3. Momma January 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Okay, so I am going to get healthy again this year. I lost 35 lbs a few years back but didn’t stay on the band wagon and gained it all back. Now I am at risk for a stroke cause I love chocolate and all things sweet. Starting today I am going to walk again through the mall each day that it is possible and loose that weight again. While doing it I am also going to gain kicks (shop kick app) which gives you kicks just for walking into a store of their choosing, and sometimes scanning products they have on sale. As you gain kicks you gain rewards. Different kinds of gift cards or even a scooter if you gain enough kicks. What a reward just for walking. So, now I have two goals. One to walk as much as possible and one to get enough kicks to win a scooter. Wouldn’t that be awesome.

    Like

    • Jackie January 18, 2016 at 10:55 pm #

      Well how you doin’ so far? I think it’s funny that the reward for walking is something that means you won’t have to walk as much 😉 I’m sure you’re kicking butt and taking names. You might even convince me to bump up my deadline to get out of the house…

      Like

      • Momma February 1, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

        Not walking so much but started Zumba class every Monday night. Here’s to loosing weight on a steady basis

        Like

  4. Jeremy January 18, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    I’ve been reading your blog off and on for a while, and occasionally am inspired to write on mine. My goals this year are several: revive my blog, develop a business plan (IT Consulting), read (more than last year, and about more than military history),

    Like

    • Jackie January 18, 2016 at 10:54 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading, Jeremy. If you haven’t already, I would consider how often you need to post to constitute a “revival” of your blog. That’s just advice from a frequent resurrector 😉

      Best wishes for a killer business plan draft, a happy healthy blog and a pile of books in your wake!

      Like

  5. FattieGettingFit January 28, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    So, yeah. This is a really great post. Thank you. It’s a great kick in the butt, which clearly I needed. Probably need to have my butt kicked every single day, but then it would get hard to sit after a while. Which maybe would be a good thing…

    Anyhoozle, I desperately want to get fit. I mean just deep in my soul more than anything that ever existed. And yet. I suck so supremely at this it’s not even funny anymore. It’s actually kind of breaking my heart. I have spent, say, 32 years of my life pretty much hating on my body. For a myriad of reasons that would probably break this blog if I tried to list them all out. I really and truely want to stop the hating, and get fit. Seems like it should not be this hard, I mean JHFC I am nearly 45 years old and I have yet to stop hating my body. What in the ever living f#%* is my problem? Right. Issues. Myriad of issues.

    So, then what am I going to do about it? Keep whining and wallowing in the vat of cheesy poofs and self pity? F that S!

    Here’s the plan:
    #1 Stop sucking
    #2 Be awesome
    #3 Restart my blog
    #4 Figure out how to get AND stay fit

    Game on!

    Like

    • Jackie January 30, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

      Wooooow this is great! It sucks to hate any part of yourself, and to think about how long you’ve been sucking in that way makes it feel insurmountable to change. You can definitely do it. Just one day at a time you can get healthy. It’s important that even if you slip up a day or if something is hard or if you feel like a big fat loser that you keep going. That’s the most important part. Get up, go again. Eventually you won’t even recognize that nearly-45-year-old habit of hate.

      I’ve got my cheerleading pants on.

      Like

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