Tag Archives: New Years

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. 

 

Project 365, Round Two

2 Jan

Well, it appears that I’ve renewed my domain for another year, so here I am on the couch again on a Wednesday night wondering what I have in my head to share.

By now you all know the answer is absolutely nothing.  And I appreciate you sticking around to listen to it.

It’s been exactly 2 years since I wrote my very first post in my very first 365 Challenge: to fire up a blog I once adored and had let sit dormant for years. It was far more successful and fulfilling than I could have imagined and I’ve become an advocate for 365 Projects, much to the irritation of my friends and family.

So it’s a new year and I need a new 365.  I didn’t do one last year; I think I was right to have taken a break.  It was a big challenge and a big payoff.  And I really missed that sense of satisfaction when the ball dropped of knowing I’d spent 365 days working on making one very specific thing about myself better.  I mean, what a waste of a year, right? 

Well not a waste, but you get what I’m going at here.  Last year was good to me.  I got out of a corporate job that was sucking the life from my body and replacing my blood with black sludge.  Instead, I decided to go back to school to get a dual masters, not knowing how exactly that looked or how I would pull it off financially.  I lost twenty pounds and put ten back on (I’m choosing to celebrate the net -10), and I spent more time with my family and friends than I have in a long time.  All in all I’d say that’s a pretty darn good year.

But I’m a monster that can’t be satisfied with mere short-term human achievements.  And let’s face it: if you’re going to force me to keep writing by continuing to read, I’m going to need some subject matter besides awkward elevator conversations, how upset I get when old ladies cut me off when I’m shopping for produce, and my soon-to-be-famous million dollar ideas (if you have money to waste and want to sponsor me, please reference Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C and then wire me the money directly so I can squander it on my inventions).

I was going to tell you something when this all started.  Oh, right.  I’m going to run a 10K.

Oh man I just wrote it.  It’s right there staring at me, all big and 10Kish.

Well I thought about how it felt to finish a 365 the first time and I thought about what thing I could spend 365 days working to improve that would best-affect me in the future.  And that answer is my fat ass.  I shall dub it the Fat Ass 365.  I will spend every single day of this year doing something fitness-related for at least 20 minutes and I will celebrate my success with a 10K.  I already looked up the race.  I have the race.  It’s a go.

I thought I’d invite you all to join me and we could get jackie blog t-shirts and make a team and conquer world hunger or cancer or the dwindling population of honeybees together, but then I realized that if I did that you might actually come and I might have to deal with the anxiety of meeting several completely foreign people and that I might die of a panic attack before I even get to achieve my resolution.

So no, you can’t know which race. You might find me and inadvertently cause my death. That would be a shame.

This is somewhat about the 10K and much more about the fact that I need to seriously incorporate movement into my daily life.  It is a simple fact that I am happiest when stuffing my face with junk food and watching television or playing video games.  This will never change about me.  I mean, I can do other things and try to replace it and even if I’m successful, I’m always going to wish deep down that I could just be in front of a screen stuffing my face and filling myself with disgusting self-deprecation that will breed in my mind and cause my own self-destruction over the course of several years. So this year, in order to help keep that natural adoration at bay, I’m enacting Operation Fat Ass 365.

I remember when I was just knee high to a grasshopper envisioning my 20’s.  Specifically, my late 20’s. I pictured what most lower middle class kids picture: a family and a nice house and great holidays and a job I don’t hate.  Of course then I grew up to be a member of the Boomerang Generation, a bunch of over-educated late bloomers with poor job prospects and an abnormally high sense of cynicism.  So I can’t really have any of those things little Jackie envisioned for herself at the moment (Sorry, little Jackie, but someday you’ll grow up and realize being a kid is all about being stupid and wrong all the time. Deal with it). 

There is, however, one thing I envisioned that I can absolutely do – and that’s be in the best shape of my life.

I mean it’s now or never, right?  I turn 27 this year.  That’s like, 3 years away from 30.  I have to imagine that someday in the near future, kids, self-loathing, and hips twice my size are coming my way and before I give up all hope of ever being the kind of person who can run for 6+miles and/or fit into single-digit clothing, I’d like to give myself a fair shot by forcing myself to face my fat every single day for 365 days.  And then of course running a 10K so I can be sure something tangible came out of it: a certificate and a t-shirt.

There’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to hate it.  But that’s okay because I’ll have lots to write about.  I love to write about things I hate. And eventually I’m going to get sick of running and I’m going to have to do things like take dance classes or go to Zumba (Lord, help me).  And those, my friends, count as Lollipop Tuesdays.

I’m already in the midst of my next one. Tune in Tuesday for the goods.

So that’s what my 2013 looks like: sweaty and disgusting. I hope yours looks fantastic too.  And in all sincerity I hope you consider a 365 Project (it’s not too late!) or at the very least, one single Lollipop Tuesday for yourself.  That way when I cross the finish line we can both celebrate.  

Happy New Year folks; thanks for reading – especially the seven of you who were with me from the start.  You’re all puddings.  Now tell me what your 2013 self challenge is. 

By The Power of Grayskull. ♣

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