Resolutions and a Polar Bear Swim
Please don't set yourself up to fail, my friend.
Walking into the new year loaded with a backpack full of desperate hope and expectations is a heavy feat. Give those shoulders a rest. It's easier to breathe.
How did we get to this point of having all of our hopes for change and tenacity hinging all at the turn of a single day?
How do we expect ourselves to break all these habits and patterns we have built at the drop of a hat?
Nobody is that strong.
Let's take a new approach to the new year. To goal setting. To the way we want to feel over a longer period of time. And let's get this shit done.
I like to approach New Year as a season, so to speak, more than a day. A calculated change rather than a sharp turning point. Long story short is that, for me, the Christmas/New Year season is one of introspection and thoughtful observation. I love to allow myself to dream, to fly a little, and then backtrack and see how plausible I can make each outcome. We can create bigger and better than we realize and usually allow ourselves to.
What a cool thought that is.
Yes, let's take a lifestyle approach to the new year. Let's take a look, both going deep and from afar, and see where we need to tweak our decisions, our patterns, and our movements to create more of what we expect from ourselves. More of what we expect from our lives. Make a list. Make fifty if you need to. And remember one thing... change is rarely a bad thing. Scary, yes. Uncomfortable, usually. Bad? Bad is just a catalyst for growth. End of story.
Fuck the pity party.
Then New Year's Day, after all that celebrating is done, wake up excited. Not excited that you might make it four weeks on your new diet plan rather than two or three. But genuinely excited for what you get to create for yourself. You know what it boils down to? Self awareness and holding yourself accountable. Be present, and be honest. The world is yours. You can build whatever you want in it.
Then, go DO. Something. Anything.
Thoughts are not the powerful things, actions are. Do something different. Do something hard. Do something for you, or for someone else. But get your goddamn butt of that couch and make some movement happen, because without that you will be a lost thought whispering in the wind of what could have been possible, and time is not on your side.
What action did I take?
I cannonballed into Okanagan Lake at -2 degrees with the wind blowing as if from a giant that was made to take a bite of a really spicy sandwich. Except the air wasn't spicy, it was bitter cold with driving snow. Character building. Just the way I like it.
I didn't so much cannonball as walk gingerly, either, because I forgot my shoes. No biggy since I couldn't feel my feet anyway, but it was extraordinarily slippery. And I'm so graceful at the best of times.
Why did I do such a thing? My good friend Janet talked me into it. Well, she didn't so much talk me into it as I invited myself along on this ride and wouldn't let her get off. Not too sure if she regretted telling me but it's all over now so that's neither here nor there. We'll see what next year brings.
In all seriousness however I felt a desperate need to cleanse the last year out of my soul. A desire to start fresh. To break some rules and get myself out of my head. I also wanted to get my head back in the game and see what I could do.
No, I don't do the polar bear swim every year, if you're wondering.
With all the challenge I've been facing the last while, I have accidentally become a little too stuck inside my head, thinking. It's easy to do when you spend so much time alone.
Depression has kept me there, as well as being so overwhelmed with options on where to take my life I lost sight of what my heart wants. The last few months have been tough.
All I needed to break that pattern was a little action.
Don't be afraid of challenge for a second. Or discomfort. Or pain.
Let that icy cold water swallow you, and in doing so carry away what you don't need anymore. Take the time you need to take, and breathe. When you walk back out you will be a fresh new person.
Be like Janet; don some Elvis sunglasses and run around as if wearing a bikini in January is a perfectly natural thing. I have never seen someone jump into cold water so fast and with such a big smile on their face. See? You can hurt and smile at the same time.
In pushing through, you're growing stronger in discipline, in mind, and in focus. These are all muscles you need.
There is no 'I'll start tomorrow' and no 'it isn't the right time yet'. Life is a constant process of refocusing and growing and pushing through to create what you love.
Just take that action and do whatever you can to re-calibrate along the way, even if it hurts a little.