Usually, I have a long list of resolutions and accomplish very few of them. Last year, though, I did achieve the main thing -- earn enough money to live on without worrying. That is harder to do if you're a freelancer than I ever thought it would be when I left my last real job: writing about finance for the Fidelity Web site.
Me doing this was always fairly ridiculous -- though I really loved the group I worked with, especially the designers (we were called the "Creative Group" by the rest of the company and had our own litttle clubhouse). But every time I wrote an article, I'd have to look up words in Barron's or some such -- a blue book that defines financial terms like "put" and "call." Each time, I'd vow to remember what they meant, but it was so foreign to me that I never could.
Now that my income for the next 6 months at least is assured, achieving other goals feels within my control. It may be uphill work
but I'll make it. I've whittled my goals down to three -- though each has specifics (how to do it, milestones, subgoals).
GET MY ENERGY BACK
*chakra chanting and yoga, bouncing (I got a mini-trampoline: bouncing on it is really good for your lymph system), vigorous exercise--walk, swim, ski, ride a horse or bicycle every day.
*stick with the Fat Flush diet -- this means planning out meals and having good vegetables around and even, for busy days, cooked and waiting to be eaten...and NOT having things like chocolate, nuts, and wine in the house
*take vitamins, drink water every day
*in bed by 10pm -- NO STAYING UP ALL NIGHT reading or, worse, watching addictive series from Netflix (most of the old Masterpiece Theatres are there for instant download! Very tempting), or worst of all, worrying.
WRITE, TRYING MY HARDEST
*start at 7.30 every morning
*finish a chapter a week -- it doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be Good Enough, with THINGS HAPPENING, not just conversation and descriptions.....
*wear cute clothes and look nice (as Grace said, what am I saving them for?) every day.
*see the people I love MUCH more often
*go ski-ing, take riding lessons
(*go to England)
*feel grateful for what I have NOW -- stop living in the future
"Happy is he, and he alone,
the man who can call today his own.
He who looking back can say,
Tomorrow do your worst for I have lived today!"
Underlying attittude: COMMIT/DO THINGS WHOLEHEARTEDLY OR NOT AT ALL
--this is a little harder to explain, but I'll try. It means: when I'm working, really work. When I'm relaxing,really relax. When I'm having fun, revel in it, enjoy it -- don't ruin it by thinking I should be working. Minimize activities that are neither work nor play; just being HONEST can make things one or the other. For example, if I'm writing email to friends, admit that it's Just for Fun, don't pretend I'm writing!
Similarly, eliminate activities that I don't really enjoy but find myself doing out of habit or boredom or indecision or lack of energy. Asking myself,
"Is this productive? Is this fun? If not -- do I have to do it?"
If the answer to all three is no, don't do it. Well....there are SOME things that are niether productive nor fun that you do have to do, but not that many. Some can be skipped, some can be off-loaded onto others-- and the ones I have to do, I will do quickly, and without procrastinating.
Procrastinating just prolongs the energy spent on something -- or, more poetically,
"Procrastination is the thief of time."
So, just do the boring things and get them over with -- and NOT first thing in the morning. Save the times with the best energy for the most important activities.
I'm happy to report that eight days into the new year, I'm on my way! I already have more energy, have lost a little weight, and am making progress on my novel.
I love new years and new starts. We used to sing this at school in, I think, second grade (imagine a bouncy tune and seven year olds singing it while the teacher played the piano):
"JANUARY DAYS ARE SHORT!
JANUARY NIGHTS ARE LONG!
A HAPPY NEW YEAR HAS JUST BEGUN
SO SING THIS JANUARY SONG."