Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My New Year's Resolution

I know this is a strange time of year to write about a thing like a New Year's resolution, but in some ways it is the best time of year to do so. That means at least the resolution is still hanging around, nagging at me in the back of my mind. It didn't disappear two weeks after the stroke of midnight like so many of my past resolutions have.

Before I launch into a discussion of my resolution or how well I have or haven't kept it; I want to mention a few points about my resolution philosophy.
1) I believe that a person should not choose more than one New Year's resolution if one plans to be successful in her resolve. I think sometimes we set our sights too high on impossible resolutions that fizzle before they are tried, let alone practiced and incorporated as habits.
2) The resolution should not be out of character. It should reflect an improvement, but it should not demand a complete character 180. For instance, I have never been big on getting regular exercise. For me to commit myself to exercising 5 times weekly for 1/2 hr, a day would probably result in total defeat.
3) A resolution should be something that requires small effort, but that makes a big impact. I believe in change, but I also believe that change happens in increments and very slowly. Improvements for the better should occur in small encouraging steps, not impossible Olympian leaps.
4)A goal should be very specific. No one ever keeps a resolution like, "I will be more organized." There needs to be some definite perimeters. "I will be more organized by filing my mail daily," is a much more specific, therefore, attainable resolution.

So, back to my resolution and its conception. Finding a goal that fits my criteria was not exactly easy. It requires reflection and absolute honesty. (Besides, when you're almost perfect it's very difficult to improve on anything. snort!) I decided on my resolution on New Year's Eve as my family and I were ferrying across Lake Havasu to dine at an Indian Casino. The water was very choppy and some of the other passengers commented that they were feeling motion sick. How did I fare? Very well. I don't remember what else happened because, despite the turbulent conditions, I had dozed off. I woke up just in time to walk up the launch ramp to the casino and enjoy my dinner.

On the ride back to Havasu, I came up with the ideal resolution for this year. I think my body was trying to tell me something like, "You are sleep deprived. Please just GO TO BED!" Viola! The perfect resolution. I resolved at that moment that I would get more sleep. I would stop trying to compensate for my overly busy schedule by staying up until midnight or later night after night. I decided that bed time for me was 10:30 since I have to get up every morning by 6:30.

I have never kept a regular bedtime schedule in my life, but what a difference it has made! I have been stricter about getting my kids to bed sooner. I no longer doze off while sitting in the church pew, or while rocking my children, or while reading, or while grading papers online or. . .well, you get the idea. I feel more clear-headed, more energetic, more organized, and just happier in general. I have always been an avid reader, but since having kids and starting my nocturnal schedule I had just given up books altogether. This year, I have even started reading again.

The reason I am revisiting my resolution now is because I have recently done some backsliding and have found myself up at midnight again folding clothes. I am recommitting myself as of today. Do not disturb after 10:30.


Melissa said...

I love your philosophies about resolutions! They make perfect sense. I totally neglected to make any New Year's resolutions, so maybe I should get to making some "Half-way through the year" ones. Six months of sticking to something doesn't seem quite as daunting as a full year! LOL

Marie said...

Hey, 6 mos. is still what I consider long term commitment.

mom said...

I agree with Melissa. Thanks for your New Year's resolution blog, it has reminded me of my own. I almost forgot!