My 2014 Not-Resolutions.

I admit it.

I’m a little… erm, obsessive when it comes to goals and new year resolutions.

For the past few years, I’ve started thinking about my new year resolutions come fall. And when I alight on a goal, I figure, why wait for the new year to start them? Might as well start them now.

It was November 2012 when I put into place my 2013 resolutions: I decided I would run a marathon in fall 2013. I hired my running coach and started tracking my calories to lose the final 10lbs I felt I needed to get to my ideal “racing weight.”

And I did everything I wanted to in 2013. I ran my marathon, ran a total of 1,538 miles for the year (which, by the way, totals more than the prior two years COMBINED), and lost 10 more lbs.

It was a good year, goal-wise.

Except I found myself in the fall pondering my resolutions yet again.

What could I do THIS year which would be better? Lose more weight? Run more marathons? Run those marathons faster? Make more money? Write more? Leave my job and start a new career?

Change, change, CHANGE.

And it got me thinking.

Every fall, I fall off a precipice into an emotional darkness. Part of is is that I live in New England and the fall gets dark and cold and I know winter’s on the way. The change of seasons, I’ve realized, REALLY affects my emotional state. Part of it, too, is that I’ve suffered a lot of loss in October and November. But a lot of it is knowing that another year’s gone by, and wondering really, what do I have to SHOW for my year? What have I actually ACCOMPLISHED?

So my instinct is to make plans for next year, because it’s a new start and clean slate and then maybe NEXT year I can be the person I want to be!

Um, yeah.

Not healthy.

So this year, when I felt that itch to change everything and set my new year resolutions, I decided to end the madness. And thus, 2014 would be the year I set Not-Resolutions.

And I only have two of them.

1. I will not diet this year. I will refrain from weighing myself and panicking when I see the number on the scale, and then obsessively recording my calories. Because I have plans to run two marathons this year, and I know that as I train I will need to listen to my body in order to fuel properly – instead of listening to some website tell me how many calories I can ingest on a daily basis.

And what I hope, as I let go of the fear of the scale creeping up and trusting that my body knows what it needs to fuel, I’ll be able to take baby steps to a place of real acceptance of my body – the body I have now, with the extra skin and padding in my midsection, crisscrossed with stretchmarks from my pregnancy with Owen (6 freaking YEARS AGO. Yeah, those suckers ain’t going away anytime soon. Sigh).Β  I will accept that I will never have a thigh gap, and that I have to be careful with jeans because they sometimes are too tight in the butt and calves.

My body can do some amazing things, and it’s time I started really listening to it – and trusting that it can do what it’s supposed to do.

Plus, I am training for two freaking marathons. If that doesn’t earn me burgers and beer and ice cream, what DOES? Food is GOOD. It’s tasty. I run enough that I should ENJOY my food.

2. I will say “no” more often. Just before my marathon last year, after a month of working silly hours – WAY more than full time for my part time job – my boss called me and asked if I’d take on another client. I had been looking forward to a couple of weeks of a break, which would have coincided with the marathon timing. Truth be told, I NEEDED the break – I had worked nearly double my regular hours for an entire month.

But in the moment, I found myself agreeing to take it on. Then I waffled. And agreed. Because, you know, I didn’t want to disappoint, or make my boss turn down potential work just because I wanted a break. And when I started working there, I felt resentful and tired and not at all motivated.

It was pretty eye opening to me: how often I agree to do something which might not be the best decision for me, just because I’m afraid to disappoint someone.

Seriously, I am REALLY shitty at saying no. If you ask me for something, and it’s within my power to get it done, I’ll agree to it. Even if I don’t think I can do it, you’re more likely to have me say, I’m not the best at this, so and so is better, but I can TOTALLY take care of this if you need me to.

I don’t know if I’ve ever said, I’m sorry, no, I can’t really take that on right now.

(Even just WRITING that phrase makes me all jittery and nervous and anxious. It’s ridiculous.)

But it’s not healthy for me and my family for me to be overbooked. So I need to learn how to start saying no.

So those are my two Not-Resolutions. Simple.

I mean, I have goals for this year. I want to learn from my dog – learn how to love the snow, take a nap when I feel tired, and meet new people with real enthusiasm. Which, quite honestly, is a post in itself.

I have running goals – two marathons this year, and I’d love it if this is the year I run a Boston Qualifying time in one of those marathons. But I know I’m still relatively inexperienced when it comes to marathoning, and so really this year I want to learn more about running marathons. By running more marathons.Β  So if I don’t BQ this year? Maybe some other year.

I’d also like to spend more quality time with my family, take more breaks from work this year, get a membership to a local pool this summer so we can spend more time outside.Β  Our life feels it moves at breakneck pace, and I’d really like to spend more time together – in the moment – than we do now. (Plus it’s winter and I’m cold and I’m dreaming about summer barbecues and swimming pools and sun… ahhhhh.)

But these are more ideas, rather than A List of My Accomplishments in 2014 Which I Will Be Forced to Outdo in 2015.

And I hope that my Not-Resolutions will be where I start to slow down, look around, and live in the here and now.

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8 Responses to My 2014 Not-Resolutions.

  1. Turia says:

    This is a really really good idea. I love it. (I hear you with getting twitchy while even just writing down the idea of saying no to someone.)

    I can’t wait to read your dog post. πŸ™‚

  2. Chris says:

    I usually lurk. But, I had to agree with you, no really, I do, about saying no! I’m horrible at it, and I need to improve for my health and my life.

  3. Slow down, look around, and live in the here and now sounds like a great not-resolution to me. Hope you make it happen in 2014.

  4. Kath says:

    Just don’t say no when I ask you to run with me πŸ™‚

  5. catwoman73 says:

    I love this. I think there are many of us who need to slow down and live in the present a little bit more.

    Personally, I am a MASTER at saying no. It is probably one of the only things I think I’m really good at. Crazy conflicting schedules in our household have kind of forced me to get lots of practice. It is a bit of an art form, and practice really does help. If you really want to learn to say no, start by trying to negotiate deals. For example, for the situation with your boss, say something like, ‘I would love to be able to take that on for you, but at the moment, I have personal commitments that might make it difficult to meet deadlines and keep this particular client satisfied, while still honouring my commitments to my other clients. Are there any smaller projects that I can take on to help you out?’ It is a sort of backwards way of saying no, but statements like that tend to get the point across- it’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just that you simply can’t fit any more into your day. You are entitled to your personal time, and most bosses get that. Good luck to you- it really is a tough skill to master!

  6. Esperanza says:

    I love, love, LOVE your non-resolutions. I personally made a promise with myself to not diet ever again (after years of disordered eating) and I’m having a hard time with that right now, as these last 15lbs are refusing to budge. I’m having to remind myself every day of why I made that promise to myself and why it’s so important to me. I KNOW that I will ultimately happier if I can remember that being skinny does not equal being happy, but right now, when everything feels out of control, having some control over how I look is so appealing. It’s really hard, but so important.

    So a huge WELL DONE for recognizing what you really, REALLY need to be happy, not what you want to THINK you need to be happy, and dedicating yourself to that. That is awesome.

  7. Justine says:

    Those? Are the best not-resolutions (or resolutions, for that matter) I’ve read yet, I think. πŸ™‚ I hate New Years’ resolutions, because they feel artificial to me. I can’t pretend that I’ll do something drastically different tomorrow. I can try to treat myself better, or treat others better, but it happens one step at a time. So: good for you, and wishing you joy in 2014!

  8. Deborah says:

    I totally agree with Justine. I don’t do New Years’ Resolutions, because I feel like it is an artificial time to try to make big changes. It just feels kind of trite to me. I usually try to make this kind of not-resolution like you did, like “be good to myself.” But lately I feel like concrete things have a better chance of success (SMART goals and all that). My focus right now is “keep things off the floor” – toys, papers, shoes, etc. I’m starting small & specific! But not because it’s New Years.

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