Every new year people post resolutions all over social media and blogs claiming they will do something better this year. But do they really matter? How did you do on your resolutions last year? How did I do on mine? What is the plan for this year?

Two years ago I proclaimed several “birthday resolutions” because my birthday is so close to New Year’s Day it just made sense, last year I was late in my posting and went with the traditional “New Year’s Resolutions”. I won’t rehash the birthday ones, but it might do some good to examine 2018’s resolutions before I get to this year.

So how did I do?

Last year I said:

Well, in addition to continuing work on all of the above, this year is the year of focus and discipline.
Discipline because it is very closely tied to focus. Focus is part biology, part discipline. One can have discipline without focus, but one definitely cannot have focus without discipline. I want to be more clear about my purpose. I want to determine priorities and stick to them. There are things in my life that should be givens but are not. I intend to make these things absolutely critical and shape my life around them, not let my life dictate whether or not I get to them. These types of wants take discipline to achieve.

Was this year a year of focus and discipline? Since I claimed one cannot have focus without discipline I cannot make the claim that focus won out over discipline, but my description of discipline outlined above was hardly met. I disciplined myself to have focus but I seem to have forgotten to make priorities and make certain things in my life into givens.

Focus this year meant less about treating myself and more about survival. My priority shifted from making sure I was doing things to keep myself healthy to making sure we all were surviving day to day. As a result this last couple of months has been a bit of a train wreck emotionally, physically, and financially.

Lately, my anxiety has been back with a passion, I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost over the spring and summer (not a ton but I notice it), and we are falling so far behind in bills I don’t even want to acknowledge it.

You may have noticed my lack of posts recently. This is not for a lack of thoughts, I just don’t want to tell anyone about them. That’s assuming I could unwind that ball of yarn and get a coherent post out there. Even this post is driving me a bit mad to write.

“This year will also be the year of listening before I speak. No. Actually listening. Not just thinking about my response the whole time the person blabbers on. No matter how much they blabber on. It’s hard, but I know I can do it.”

I think I did OK on this one. Perhaps too well. It’s not hard to train one’s self to listen and not speak. But I may have gone too far the other way and have stopped answering when I should.

Likewise, I want to work on responding instead of reacting. Too often I get triggered and blow up. Or I sweep the feelings of others under a rug before they can fully express them. This is largely because I don’t want to have have feelings myself. It’s another offshoot of anxiety.

Ah yes, meta-emotions. Just being aware that I have them has helped me control them. I can listen to others and feel feelings without feeling feelings about those feelings. The words of others don’t have to trigger a torrent of emotional outburst or cause me to clam up and shut down.

What do I intend to do this year?

I am hesitant to make resolutions this year as I’m not completely satisfied with 2018’s results. Of course, it may just be the result of recent un-healthiness that I feel this way. I can honestly say that overall I am healthier now than I was at this point last year, just that right now my thoughts are a bid muddied from recent upheavals in my sleep, my diet, my exercise, and my environment.

I said “I’m tired” a lot this past year. And this year is starting out on that very same note. I don’t foresee that exhaustion subsiding much in the coming months, especially given a new job and a lot of stuff to do around the house. Rest is going to be a precious commodity for awhile.

Perhaps the only resolution that I will make is this: stick to the plan.

We have plans for the coming year. Hard plans. Plans that will be uncomfortable and difficult to carry out. Giving up is way too easy when circumstances are tough. This has led to many unfulfilled dreams and goals. Long-term benefits were sacrificed for short-term ease. This is something that I intend to remedy this year. I intend to stick as much as possible to our plans, even when they become unbearable to carry out.

This of course means that circumstances will have to be properly evaluated. Some things are legitimately out of one’s control. These are not usually the things that derail plans though. Most of the time what derails plans are feelings and anxiety over a perceived lack of control. You basically self-sabotage by thinking “oh no, this is not working!” when it’s actually working. It may not be exactly as you had hoped but it’s still working. Life is still progressing, just with a few detours.

So, stick to the plan?

Sounds like a plan!

Now how do I do that?

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