I usually start my year off with a litany of promises that I make to myself about how I will be better this year. They are almost always variations on the same themes.
- I will work out more
- I will eat less crap
- I will drink less alcohol
- I will keep my house spotless
- I will write more (always, always this one!)
I generally get very excited about doing this because every year I truly believe that this year is the year I will become a completely different person once that clock strikes midnight on December 31st. And often I’m able to maintain this new personality for about 2-4 weeks, then something will come up, or I’ll be tired, or just feel like giving up because life is actually kinda hard and all I want to do is sit on my couch eating Chick-Fil-A with a glass of cabernet while watching Ozark on Netflix.
So it was odd when this New Year rolled around and I found myself unable to feel my usual excitement about all my usual false promises. Would I be entering this 2022 new year without any goals?
Well, yeah I guess. Because we are now over halfway through January and I don’t have any big proclamations written down on either my planner or my whiteboard. I feel okay about this and here’s why.
It’s not as if I’ve stopped working on things. Quite the contrary I’ve actually been pretty busy for the last month. I’m working on my new book, still blogging, still trying to build awareness for my books that are already published. What’s different is that there aren’t any S.M.A.R.T. goals around any of these activities. I’m not promising to hit 1000 words a day. I’m not swearing on my life that I’ll blog three times a week. I’m not sacrificing my mental health to the social media gods in the name of building “my brand”.
I’m just doing these things because I once actually enjoyed them for the sake of simply doing them–and I’m finding that with the removal of all my self-imposed “you should dos” the love is still there. Apparently, it’s been hiding behind my chore list.
I find the same has been true for other areas of my life. I actually haven’t had any alcohol (except for a small, shot-sized glass of sake at a sushi restaurant) since the middle of December. Not because I’ve committed to Dry January, or never, ever drinking again, but because I feel 150% better, physically, mentally, emotionally when I don’t have any alcohol. I sleep better, have more focus and energy, and my mood is stable and positive (in spite of the current state of the world–which I actually feel better prepared to face when all my other systems aren’t crashing.)
And because I feel better, I’ve been exercising more consistently. Not every day. Not crazy pushing myself to the point of exhaustion. But I find that my body wants to move. It craves the exertion of swinging my kettlebell, stretching, and riding the Peloton (best home exercise equipment I’ve ever invested in, BTW). I’m not weighing myself, counting calories, or stressing about carbs this year.
I’m just trying to find a little happiness, peace, a return to joy in all the important areas in my life. So while there are not any measurable goals posted in my house, I am keeping track of the one thing I do want to achieve this year–happiness. I just want to be happy, that’s it, the only goal I really have. And I think I’m starting to figure out the authentic building blocks that make up my own version of personal happiness. Health, love, creativity, safety, security, recreation…the question in any given moment is: Is this something I want to do? Is this something that will make me happy right now?
For example, writing this blog post is making me feel good right now. I’m doing it because I want to, not because I feel like I should for my career.
And it’s making a big difference in how I’m showing up in my life.
Until next time,