Ah, the dreaded “what’s your new year’s resolution” post. We all kinda hate that word, don’t we? “Resolution” … it makes me feel like I’m currently doing something wrong, that I need to “fix” something in my life. And perhaps I do. But part of life – well, mine anyway – is being perfectly imperfect. Or is that just my youthful optimism?
Well, if anything, I suppose it’s a way to set goals for myself. I’ve always been a planner…a little bit too much of a planner. Maybe my resolution should be to STOP planning. (But then if one plans to not plan … is that planning?) But I have to say, I don’t mind this personality flaw of mine. My excessive planning may lead to certain anxieties as I set unreachable goals (or so I’m told) but being a great goal-setter is how I got to where I am today. And I’m okay with where I am. I might even say I’m proud of where I am … but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s still so much for me to accomplish. I’m only 25.
So this year, let me set more short-term goals. And instead of “New Year’s Resolutions” they will instead serve as “revelations” for discovering the real me. I’m just at the cusp of establishing a true identity, as many of us take our 20’s to “figure it all out.” I don’t want to wait until the next decade of my life to be me, so let’s start today.
I’m going to start small, and advise anyone with those lofty goals of “lose 20 pounds” or “be a better person” to do the same. Create three overarching life goals for yourself to become a better “you” – one for the mind, one for the body, and one for the soul. And with each, create a tactic on how you can climb closer to that accomplishment this year. My current non-fiction read is actually perfectly timed with this mentality: Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. As part of bringing about change, the authors write:
“Ambiguity is the enemy. Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors. In short, to make a switch, you need to script the moves.”
So let’s do some real problem solving instead of problem inventing. Here’s mine:
- The Mind: Learn French
The Problem: I know, I’m a fraud. Here I am, a self-proclaimed Francophile with a blog name written en francais, having completed multiple study abroads in the great European hexagon, and I confess that I am NOT fluent in the French language. After 8 years of studying, I had given up the language as an academic pursuit due the weaknesses in the monolingual American education system. With nearly as many French credits as was in my actual major, I found that I could read and write in French, but when I shipped myself to Cannes, I fumbled when trying to speak it. Practice makes perfect, and during my graduate course in Paris, I became more comfortable, but the word “fluent” was just too ambitious at the time. Now, with less practice than ever, I feel some words slipping away from me.
The 2014 Tactic: I’ve busted open the Rosetta Stone, Level 4, box that Tom had given me for my birthday. I will complete all of Level 4 by December 31, 2014.
- The Body: Run a Marathon
The Problem: It’s no secret that when I ran the half-marathon last year, the optimistic side of my brain confirmed that “yeah, I could do two of these in a row.” It’s also no secret that when my best friend ran the 2013 NYC Marathon, I had a pang of jealousy. It was just the push I needed to decided to run a marathon NOW, rather than “one day.”
The 2014 Tactic: While I have put my name in the lottery for the 2014 NYC Marathon, there are of course no guarantees. I will be campaigning for guaranteed entry as a charity runner. And in the meantime, I will be running the NYC Half-Marathon on March 16th and another borough half-marathon next fall.
- The Soul: Be happy (AKA Decrease my anxiety)
The Problem: I put a lot of pressure on myself. I know this, and it takes a negative toll. It’s not as easy as “just be less anxious” because for some of us, that’s not a solution and there’s more medical history behind it. But this past year, I took a big step in the right direction by quitting my job. I had gone from one stressful career to another, and I knew what I needed was making the place that you go to five days a week a place that doesn’t make me cringe when that alarm goes off every morning. I swapped the big names on my resume and all the stuff that “sounds cool” in my job description for something much simpler and amazingly, I’m much happier in every aspect of my life. Now, I won’t stop improving.
The 2014 Tactic: With my professional life more in order, I can focus on other aspects that will improve my anxieties. By working on my physical goal of running in several races in 2014, I am on my way to being healthier physically, which has in turn proven to improve mental health. I hope that this more abstract goal of mine can come more easily if I can give 110% to the others. And on a day-to-day basis, I vow to at least try to say “who cares” to those little illogical thoughts that make my mind run all day and night. I’ve also planned out a 2014 reading list of several non-fiction books that can help me with this goal.
The best way to stay successful in accomplishing these goals all year long is to mix and intertwine them. I am hoping that at certain times I can practice my Rosetta Stone while on the treadmill. (Yep – “two birds, one stone” is my favorite motto.) And while improving physically, this will keep my mind busy and active and full of endorphins to help me battle unwanted anxieties.
I also have several smaller goals that, to be totally honest, I am too embarrassed to write because there is a strong possibility I will back out of them, or they depend too much on my financial stability. (Ok, I will give you one example… I think/hope/pray I will be getting Lasik eye surgery this year which in turn will help me overcome my ommetaphobia.)
But I do think that if I can check these off my 2014 list (I literally have a checklist written out … in ink) then they can only help me have a better and more true-to-myself mind, body, and soul.
So I hope for once instead of inspiring you in the kitchen, that I can inspire you to be more yourself this year. Because in the end, that’s what life is all about.
And for everything else, there’s wine.
To a very happy 2014!!!
Katie Beyrer says
very nicely done, Jamie! you’re an inspiration to me! thanks so much and happy new year!!!
Thank you Katie!!! Happy New Year!! 🙂
James Travis Sr says
I really enjoyed this piece of literature.