For whatever reason, I`m having a lot of trouble figuring out how to tackle what seems to be the inevitable “New Year`s Resolution” blog post. I`ve been seeing a lot of these posts popping up over social media lately. Everyone is thinking about self improvement these days, which I guess is only natural at the beginning of January. But most New Years Resolution posts end up rubbing me the wrong way.
First, a lot of them are saying the same things; lists of relatively obvious things that you probably already knew were important, like “eat healthy,” “exercise more” and “get more sleep.” I’m pretty sure I already knew I was supposed to be doing that, and I’m not sure why, suddenly, at this arbitrary moment in time, I will be able to do all of that stuff better than I was doing it before. Especially because I was already working pretty hard at it! I always feel a little sarcastic reading those lists… Really? If I just do these 36 things, I’ll be happier, healthier, more fit and more productive this year? Only 36 things, that’s it?? Yes, according to this 20-something blogger whose only job is to sit at Starbucks with her iMac and think of list-form advice to publish on her e-zine, those 36 things are my ticket to being the perfect woman. Great, I can do that! Bring on 2015!… wait, didn’t I read that exact list last year?
So instead of offering up a list of relatively obvious and shallow advice for the coming year, I’m just going to share some of the things I’ve been learning in the last few months. These are more like themes than resolutions, but it’s stuff I’d like to keep focusing on through the winter, and I’m hoping that you’ll all be able to at least relate to some of it.
Theme A: Priorities
I think this has been my number one most important realization over the last few months. What are my priorities, and how will I actually live them out in a practical way? For me, it’s my marriage, my health, and my friends and family. Those are my top 3. And that means that whenever I have to choose between work and health, for example, or making extra money or spending time with my husband, I can easily just go back to my list of top 3 priorities, and I have my answer. Amazing. Money loses, husband wins. Health trumps work, every time. Life comes down to choices, and the way we make those choices tells everyone, including ourselves, who we are. It’s really that simple. So if someone who didn’t know me at all were to hang out with me for a week, what would that person identify as my top 3 priorities based on what they say while spending a week with me? Based on how I spend my time? Based on how I spend my money? It’s time to get real with myself and be the woman I say I want to be. A loving and healthy wife, a caring daughter and a loyal friend.
Theme B: Commitment
This could also be described as “putting my money where my mouth is.” Now that I’ve identified my priorities, it’s time for me to make some real changes. Some of the changes I’ve made so far have included hiring a personal trainer, someone to keep me accountable when it comes to exercise. With the winter coming up, and knowing it’s always hard to stay in shape during a tough Montreal winter, I decided to get serious about the gym. That’s a direct investment in my health. Another change was promising myself to never take another overtime shift again. Seriously. No more overtime. A full time job is enough, and it’s time for me to put boundaries around that. No more losing sleep to satisfy my boss. No more sacrificing my day off activities (like going for a run, or hanging with my hubby) in the name of work. Not only have I been happier and healthier since making that decision, I’ve been a better nurse. If I’m making the most of my days off, I’m much more energetic and ready to go when I’m actually at the hospital. And that’s the kind of nurse I want to be. Those two commitments have already changed my life, and I’m telling you, it’s wonderful. What a great feeling to actually spend my time and money on the things that matter to me!
Theme C: Gratitude
I almost didn’t include this in my post, because it seems borderline obvious. I’m sure anyone out there who reads O Magazine or who minored in Psychology would be able to tell you this, and it’s definitely high on the cheese factor. But the truth is, it’s been a big theme for me in the past few months, and I’d like that to continue. Be thankful for everything, all the time. Yep. There it is. I’m sure that sounds absolutely ridiculous and completely vague, but I swear I’m being serious!
Maybe it’s my recent return to bedside nursing, seeing families go through some of the toughest times in their lives, that’s making me realize how lucky I am, in general, just to be who I am. Or it could be that I was living in another city for a while, and when I came home, I was just so grateful to be back around my friends and family and coworkers. Or maybe it’s the newlywed in me who is still totally lovestruck and ridiculous whenever I think about the life that my husband and I have together. There have been ups and downs in 2014, but I wouldn’t change any of it. I’m grateful for every challenge, every bad day, every tough run that made my lungs burn, but made me faster. (Yes, that’s a running metaphor, but I also meant it literally.) Please, don’t forget to be grateful. Don’t take this stuff for granted, people, this is life!!
And I think that’s why I get annoyed when I read all this New Year’s Resolution stuff around this time of year. The one thing it doesn’t address is all of the good that came out of last year. Was 2014 shitty for you? That’s great! Because you learned from it. You got tougher, you survived, and now you’re a better you. Don’t forget to be grateful for that. Was 2014 completely awesome and you don’t know how you’ll ever top it? That’s fantastic! Because you had a great year, and you’ll carry that with you wherever you go.
As I look forward to 2015, I can’t help but look back at the year I’ve just had. I’m taking a lot of good stuff with me from 2014, and running full force with it into the year ahead.
Oh, and one last thing… The runner in me does have an actual, concrete goal for this year. It’s time to finally tackle this half marathon thing!
Which reminds me, good luck at the gym this January!! Haha, couldn’t help but include this: