Tag Archive for resolutions

An annual tradition… my year-end non-resolutions

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A grainy pic of me and the husband on New Year’s Eve this year.

 

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions in 2010 because I realized that resolutions focus too much on what we’ve done wrong rather than what we’ve done right.

Every year since then I’ve made a list of “non-resolutions,” that is a list of things that I accomplished over the past year that made me happy and proud.

(If you like, you can still read my non-resolutions from 2011, 2012, and 2013.)

This year the task of figuring out what made me happy and proud over the past twelve months has proven harder than ever before. That’s because this year I completed my most recent book project (a memoir about meeting my biological family) but still haven’t been able to find a publisher for it.

After working on that one single project for 4 1/2 years, it’s difficult to accept the fact that it may not get published.

But the truth is it may not.

As a result of that realization, I made a big change in my life and that’s what led me to my first non-resolution…

1) I’m most proud of the fact that this past summer I decided to make writing fiction my top priority so that I wouldn’t have to spend 4 1/2 years writing another book that didn’t get published. Instead I’ve committed to writing a book a year with the hope that if one of those books doesn’t get published, it won’t be as devastating as it has been when a book I worked on for YEARS doesn’t.

2) I feel truly lucky to be in a healthy marriage with a loving and supportive spouse who really gets me. And I feel equally lucky to have SO MANY great family members and friends that I don’t even have enough time to see them all in a given year.

3) I’m glad that I’m starting to learn to let things roll off of me a bit more. Those petty arguments we have with friends and family? They’re just not getting to me as much, and I’m not engaging with the drama that comes with those relationships, which is making me MUCH happier.

4) I’m also happy that I’ve continued to work out almost every single day, and I’ve added biking and swimming to my regular mix of walking, running, and going to boot camp.

5) I’m pleased, too, that I have continued to reject the notion that being skinny is more important than being healthy. I lost a few pounds this year, but some days those lost pounds show up on the scale like that loser ex-boyfriend who still writes on your Facebook wall twenty years after you dumped him. On those days, I just remind myself I’d rather be healthy than worry about a few measly little pounds (and to block said ex-boyfriend on Facebook).

That’s it for me this year!

I sincerely hope that you can take a few minutes today to focus on what you did RIGHT last year too.

Trust me, it feels REALLY good to do so.

Molly

Happy new year! What did you do last year that made you feel good about yourself?

For the past three years, I’ve made a list of “non-resolutions” rather than resolutions. (You can see my first set non-resolutions from 2011 here.)

I do this so I can remember what I’ve done right over the past year instead of focusing on what I think I’m doing wrong.

You might remember that, last year, I invited readers to submit their non-resolutions and got dozens of responses, which you can still read here. (And this year to celebrate the new year I invited readers to submit photos for my new Tumblr photo blog, “The Real You Project.”)

Even though I spent New Year’s Day focusing on The Real You Project, that doesn’t mean I want to stop the great tradition of non-resolutions. To that end, here are my non-resolutions for this year:

1) In terms of my health, I’m thrilled that I managed to amp up my exercise program a good deal over the past twelve months. A year ago, I had gotten in a bit of a slump. I was still exercising about an hour a day, but I only did one kind of activity: walking. But since then, I’ve added a little bit of running and a local boot camp class three times a week to my exercise routine. The result is that I am more much more toned, tighter, and stronger than I was before, and I love that. I also love the camaraderie of boot camp. I don’t know what I would do without my boot camp buddies—they motivate me every single day.

2) I’m glad too that I had another good year in my relationships with friends and family, whom I feel closer to every day.

3) In addition to writing this blog, I am also a writer of books. But sometimes the books take a backseat to other things—like teaching and blogging. That’s why I am so happy to be able to say that I finally finished the book I’ve been working on for four long years. It’s a memoir about meeting my biological family called You Belong to Us, and I’m now in the final proofreading stages and will have this thing done before the end of January.

4) Speaking of teaching, I’ve been through some rough times with my “day job” over the past few years. My job is not ideal because I am not on the tenure track where I teach, which basically means I teach more and get paid less. But I do love to teach, and this past semester I was finally able to focus more on the positive aspects of my teaching gig—like job security and benefits and my great students—than those negative aspects.

5) Finally I’m so proud to say that I’m starting 2013 on a more positive note about my body than I was a year ago. At the end of 2011, I gained five pounds in just two days—though I still have no idea why. So I started 2012 five pounds heavier than I’d ever been, and I was really feeling awful about it. Since then, I haven’t lost those five pounds—they seem to be here to stay—but I have managed to develop a better attitude about them. No, I’m never going to be skinny, but I am healthy and happy, which is more important than worrying about a few silly pounds that clearly needed a home.

Okay, those are my non-resolutions.

What are yours???

Stay glad: advice from Woody Guthrie and a recap

Good news!

I managed to keep exercising while on vacation—apparently Key West is a city made for walkers, so we managed to walk more each day we were there than we do at home, which is really saying something since we normally average an hour a day.

We also had an amazing time and were able to really unwind away from the stresses of work and the internet. I don’t say it in the healthy living section of this blog, but I really should—relaxation is as important a part of being healthy as anything else.

The only bad news (and this isn’t really bad news) is that I’ve fallen a little bit behind on telling you about some stories related to having a healthy mind and body. So rather than discuss any one of them at length, I’m just going to give you a quick rundown . . .

1) After all of the I Will Not Diet contributors posted their non-resolutions here on New Year’s Day, someone sent me a copy of Woody Guthrie’s list of New Year’s resolutions for 1942, which I’ve included above. Some of my favorites include: “Don’t get lonesome,” “Stay glad,” “Have company but don’t waste time,” “Dance better,” and “Love everybody.” I’m sure we’d all do well to take the same advice.

2) I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while about The Real Girl Belly Project, and my friend Alison reminded me about it today. This is a section of online magazine XO Jane (run by Sassy and Jane founder, Jane Pratt) devoted to publishing pictures of real—not Photoshopped—bellies. You’ve honestly got to see these to believe them. They are all flawed and human and wonderful!

3) My cousin Jennifer told me about an article called “The Death of Pretty,” in which the author argues that young girls today no longer want to be “pretty” but rather just “hot.” The article is far from perfect, especially when it veers into the women-should-be-innocent-creatures-men-want-to-protect territory, but it also makes a good point about our commodity-driven culture and the fact that young girls often grown up way too fast in our society because, like the celebrities they see on their screens, they want to be as sexy as possible. I wrote about this problem in my 2010 Halloween post, and, sadly, it’s not something I expect to be resolved any time soon.

4) And last but not least, another friend, Holly, reminded me that Children’s Health Care of Atlanta is currently running a series of anti-obesity ads that are drawing fire. You’ve really got to see the ads, which you can do here, to get the full impact of them, but suffice it to say they’re incredibly dark (like similar anti-meth and anti-smoking ads), and some people think they are hurting more than they’re helping, causing embarrassed kids to avoid exercise rather than embrace it. I have mixed feelings about the ads. I’m certainly glad anti-obesity ads are being disseminated in our society, but I don’t like that the ads seem to lay all the blame at the feet of the parents. At this point, we know that obesity is about the chemicals in our environment as much as it is about diet and exercise. So why not target lawmakers as well as parents? In several of the ads, kids ask their parents questions like “Why am I fat?” and I’d love an ad in which one of the kids said, “Dear Congress–why do you let corporations put so many chemicals in my food?”

The countdown to New Year’s has begun
. . . time to write your non-resolutions!

1950s New Year’s Eve Revelers, New York

The new year has always meant two things in our society—partying and resolving. We party the night before and then resolve to be better the next morning. It’s a somewhat messed up way of doing things that—not unlike dieting—is about extremes: I’ll go nuts tonight and be better tomorrow. In reality, we’d be better off doing both in moderation—a little bit of partying and a little bit of resolving, a little bit of indulging and a little bit of being healthy and exercising—but not too much of either extreme.

If you’ve been reading this blog for over a year, you know that, as a result, I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions. I’ve talked in years past—in my 2010 ”The glass should always be half-full” post and my 2009 ”My new year’s resolution: no more resolutions” post—about how much resolutions can hurt us because they focus on the negative rather than the positive. And this is why I advocate making a list of non-resolutions—that is a list of what we’ve done right and what we appreciate about ourselves over the past year—rather than a list of what we’ve done wrong and need to improve.

To that end, I challenge each of you to send me your non-resolutions by December 31st—your list of one to five things you’ve done right this year—so I can publish them here on New Year’s Day. You can email them to me at molly@iwillnotdiet.com.

If you’re willing, send me a picture of yourself as well. And if you’d rather be anonymous, that’s fine too—just pick a pseudonym I can post with your list.

All right—you better get started! The new year is less than a week away!