For the month of January, I made a vow to do all of my shopping at the local health food store. No, this is not my attempt to try to eat healthier or to shed the extra weight that I put on over the holidays.
It’s actually a means of avoidance and self-preservation. Despite what you think, my decision has nothing to do with avoiding pesticide-laden foods and toxic cosmetics and cleaners so that I can live longer (although this will be a nice bonus!).
The real reason…this is the time of year when every supermarket checkout is littered with magazines whose covers are blazoned with promises that this year will be the year that I keep and achieve my New Year’s resolutions.
“30 days to a new you!”
“Lose 10 pounds and keep them off!”
“Look and feel 10 years younger!
“Earn more money, be a better spouse, parent, employee, etc., etc., etc.”
Admittedly, it was not so long ago that I allowed myself to be seduced by the New Year’s hype and false promises that these magazines offered. I have bank statements to remind me of the various relationships that I’ve had with gyms long after the love affair was over. I have half-read how-to books and related paraphernalia tucked away in closets as mementos of life changes that felt right at the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in self-improvement and setting goals. Trust me, I am only too well aware of my shortcomings and think it’s important to work on them. And I like the idea of starting out the New Year with fresh optimism, but it is difficult not to mention hard on my self-esteem when I pick up a well-intentioned magazine that suggests that I’m deficient in several areas and could do better.
Of course I could do better. Like the average person, I don’t have a problem rhyming off and worrying about my weaknesses, challenges, mistakes and all that is wrong in my life. And fixating on them is not going to make me a happier person; quite the opposite. Talk about a downer.
So if I am going to leap into 2014 with optimism and exuberance, I’m going to do so celebrating…me! I’m serious. I’ve decided to acknowledge what I’m doing well (when do we ever do this?) and what makes me happy, and put my effort into continuing them. So I came up with a top 10 list. Well, there were only 10 things that came to mind, but I’m sure this will get easier with more practice.
For example, one thing that I want to continue doing is going to my exercise class at least once a week. (I pay as I go now, so no more wasted gym memberships!) I know that this is hardly enough since experts are saying that you need to exercise at least three to five times per week. However, all that aside, I am proud of myself that I make it to this class once a week with all of the other responsibilities that I have to juggle.
Another commitment that I am going to maintain is a date with my son every evening at least a half hour before he goes to sleep. I hop into his bed and with the dog at our feet, we get lost in the pages of exciting adventure novels. If he has a lot of homework or we have other things going on, this time gets cut short. This has been an evening ritual ever since my son was born and is the most sacred moment of my day. I want to make sure that I preserve it for as long as possible because soon it won’t be cool anymore for him to read snuggled up with his mom, although he assures me that this will never happen!
This feels a lot more productive than chastising myself for the things that I’m not doing. And with all of the positive energy and optimism that I’ll be generating, I may just feel up to tackling a new goal for myself – healthier eating. This won’t be too much a stretch though, since I’ll be walking the aisles of the health food store every few days for the next month.