About 2 AM in the morning of January, 1st 2014 (so yesterday morning) I was sitting at Ihop with a few friends after a rousing New Year’s Eve party, having breakfast and discussing New Years Resolutions. Had this conversation happened three or more years ago, I would have resolutely claimed that I don’t make resolutions because who ever keeps them so why waste the time?
That’s right. I was THAT person. But to me, being THAT person was still better than being the “THAT person” that makes resolutions and never keeps them.
Then two years ago I made a new years resolution for something I wanted to accomplish. It was a small resolution, and I was fairly confident I could do it. But I was still afraid this resolution would go the way of all the promises I made to myself: broken. I was ready to give it a shot, though. So, in 2012 I promised myself I would stop drinking soda.
I goofed up almost the first day when I was at a party thrown by a friend and had a cup of ginger ale without even thinking about it. Not until after I’d finished drinking the soda did I remember the promise I’d made to myself mere days before. I could have said, “Oh well, guess I didn’t make that resolution. Better luck next time,” and guzzled soda for the rest of the year. Instead I saw it as a tiny, forgivable mistake and recommitted myself.
And I succeeded. Except for two or three incidents (in which I felt justified in drinking, and didn’t over indulge), I went soda free that entire year. It was really such a small thing (though I know many people who would be horrified at giving up their colas and lemon-lime drinks), but I accomplished it. And if I could do it for one year, I could do it indefinitely. This year I went soda free again (though it wasn’t my resolution and I still had those one or two situations where I felt it was acceptable to partake) and I plan to stay soda free for the rest of my life.
In 2013, I made more resolutions, and bigger ones. If I could give up soda, I could give up all sugar and simple carbs. I also wanted to try running again (I had once in 2011 to some success, but it’d been over a year since that last time I’d run). Now, I can’t say I was AS successful as I was in 2012 in keeping my resolutions. Starting with my sister’s wedding in June, I started giving in to eating sugar after being SO GOOD for the first five months. And though I did run all year, I certainly didn’t accomplish the three times a week I’d promised myself. Heck, during the summer and towards the end of the year, there would be one or two week spans where I didn’t run at all.
But not completely succeeding isn’t a failure. One of the discussions we had as a group at 2 AM at Ihop was that when we make goals and work towards them, even if we don’t do all that we wanted to do, we have still made progress and thus we have still succeeded. And in those times that we do fail to live up to the promises we make, instead of thinking that means it’s over, it should be an opportunity to recommit and try again.
So I still ate sugar and didn’t run three times all 52 weeks of 2013. That didn’t prevent me from losing 30 pounds. Or running a 15k (that’s 9.3 miles for non-runners). I still eat MUCH healthier with more fruits and veggies and homemade meals. And when I did eat sugar, it was nowhere NEAR to the excess that I used to. I’ve come a long way in 2013 even if I didn’t do all that I planned for the year.
And I’m ready to move forward in 2014. I’ll still struggle. The saying is true. No one ever said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it. And it is. It’s totally been worth all the struggles and the hard work.
So, here are my resolutions for 2014: Recommit to no sugar and no simple carbs. Run half marathons (13.1 miles). And write or edit for 15 minutes a day, minus Sundays.
The last one is the big one. I’ve wanted to be a writer since grade school. It’s my dream. So why don’t I spend more time on it? I’ve certainly gotten better over the last few years. I have 2 and 3/4 manuscripts. I attend writing conferences and writing retreats. I participate in NaNo. But my actually writing is so spotty that I’ll go months without looking at my own writing for any reason. If I’m going to achieve this dream, I have to be more consistent.
So, 15 minutes every day. I can do it (even though I almost didn’t get that fifteen minutes in on January first). And maybe I’ll mess up and miss a day, or an entire week. But that doesn’t mean give up and stop writing. It just means recommit and try again.
Always try again.