Typically I am not the 'New Years Resolution' type. I would say it's because I don't believe in making cliche and unrealistic promises, but mainly it's because I hate letting myself down. Also, because I fancy myself a Grade A Procrastinator, I usually find myself waking up on January 1st with a vague hangover, an enormously messy house, and zero idea of how I managed to pull off another holiday season without checking into the loony bin. Who has time to sit down and make a bunch of empty promises to themselves when there are presents to be bought and wrapped and then more presents to be sorted and put away? All this Christmas consumerism puts a pretty big damper on my ability to dive into self analysis and plot out annual self-improvement strategies.
Most years, I can't even fall back on the typical : 'this year, I will exercise more' resolution because I happen to actually like working out and therefore, there's no need to hop back on a bandwagon that I never fell from in the first place.
Before I began teaching group fitness classes, I couldn't stand visiting the gym in January. The 30 minute wait for treadmills that had been gathering dust a week earlier would make my blood simmer. Once my workouts started making me a modest income, I began to look forward to a room full of sweaty bodies each winter, slightly doughy from their recent pre-resolution holiday binges. It was nice: lots of re-charged enthusiasm and sparkly new workout clothes. And because I was the instructor, there was always a spot for me in the class...no wait necessary.
Now I have two kids--one of whom has a serious aversion to sleep--and guess who's looking extra plump and doughy these days?
It's true. Six months after bringing another life into this world, I am still proudly displaying the evidence of that tiny guy both in and around my pants. At four months adjusted, my youngest son tips the scales at a measly 11lbs 1oz. I on the other hand have about twice that to loose before my clothes finally stop begging for mercy.
And so, the night before the last day of 2013 I find myself bone-tired after three days of head-spinning holiday festivities, four days of obscene work hours to make up for time off, and six months of sleepless nights. I am also left without a speaking voice, encumbered by a maddening alternate of sinus pressure and nasal drainage, and stiff and sore in almost every muscle group, right down to my fingers.
Realizing my self image has plummeted along with my figure and worse, my favorite stress-management tool has taken a backseat to 4am nursing sessions and 10 hour workdays, I have decided that maybe it's time to make myself some of those empty promises.
1. I will love my family. And I will not confuse love with constant self-sacrifice. I will remember that loving my boys does not mean that I am responsible for every single nighttime meal or that I should feel guilty when the clean laundry spends a night or two in laundry bins and draped over the back of the couch instead of in our dressers and closets.
2. I will respect myself. I will remember that I am less-than-stellar company when I am neglecting my health and denying myself exercise-induced endorphins. I will acknowledge that I am a more fitting mother and role model when I am healthy and happy than when I am stressed and sleep-deprived and hostile.
3. I will accept help when it is offered. I am not a super hero. Or if I am, my superpower is being able to drag my happy ass from bed (or wherever it was I landed after the 4am meal) each morning. Next to completing the NY Times crossword puzzle, raising children is maybe the most challenging task there is (even after less than two years of experience, I am quite certain of that fact). It was not meant to be done alone. That's why God or whoever made it necessary for two parents to be involved in the baby-making process. Shoot, Mrs. Clinton thinks it takes a whole damn village to raise those little f*ckers right.
4. I will stop punishing myself. I do not need to spend so much time apologizing for all the things I perceive to be (or actually am) doing wrong. Nobody gets to be perfect at everything and I can realistically expect to fail in at least one aspect of my life on a daily basis. Instead of dwelling on those failures, I will celebrate my tiny victories and try to spread the failures around a little, so as not to neglect one area entirely.
It's a start, I guess. There are probably a thousand other promises I should be making to myself in order to maximize my potential in 2014...but I think I'll set my alarm for a 530 workout and go to bed instead.
Cheers to you, dear reader. Good luck with your self-improvement projects this year.
Maybe I'll see you at the gym.