Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year New Happiness

So much is made of the New Year. From people determined to quit vices - smoking, over-eating, not exercising - to others promising to live "better", good intentions begin on January 1st and are usually forgotten about by January 15th not to be dredged up again until the next new year. I've been sucked into that in the past and refuse to buy into now. Change is gradual; I have to want to change to make it stick, and there is no magic date on the calendar that can make change occur. This year I just want to concentrate on what I started in the old year; I want to live each day a little healthier, both mentally and physically, a bit more confident, and with a lot more love and FUN!
Last year I finally became sick and tired of not taking care of myself the best way I can. I know exercise is the healthiest thing for my body and mind and yet I always fought getting into a routine that makes exercise a part of my daily life. No more striving for 2-3 days a week, now I strive for 5 and if I'm off one I'm still exercising the majority of the week. If I take a day off, I don't parlay that into 2, 3 days, or all week off. I do have an arbitrary goal - to lose a specific amount of weight before I turn 40 (less than two years to go!), but now it's all about health, lifestyle, and a dedication to self, as opposed to "diet", self-control, and depriving myself. I don't react well to those harsh tactics so I had to cut them out. The way I'm living now, although not "perfect", is creating a calmer, happier, more nourished, and stronger me. It is "progress not perfection" I am involved and that is making all of the difference. Since the end of August 2010 I have been waking up in the early hours of the morning to work out on my elliptical machine. My blood pressure is normal (hypertension runs deep in my family), my weight is starting to come down, I have more energy to play with my kids, and even for my husband! Best of all, I still enjoy the time. Even today I thought I might just workout for an abbreviated amount of time, but I ended up making my entire goal! This is progress. I am pleased with my progress. Mostly I'm relieved that I'm not watching the "Weight Loss commericals", cereal adds telling me to lose weight in two weeks by eating their products twice a day, and gym ads promising "bikini-ready bods" by Summer. I am on the right course and do not feel immense guilt and depression that I'm not doing anything. I feel liberated that I am in control of my health. Do I still eat chocolate? Yes. Do I still indulge in a nice meal? Sure. Have I lost a ton of weight? No, but I am slowly and consistently seeing the scale numbers go down. That is success.
As we put the Christmas decorations away for another year I become acutely aware that I like the house in its more sparse state. Before I return the "dust collectors", as my husband calls my various collectibles and decorations, to the shelves, I appreciate the lack of clutter, the flow of space, and the potential of what could be. I am ruthlessly going painstakingly through our belongings to see what is a must and what must go! My space must provide a place for creativity, a neat presence to inspire calm, and less stuff to make dusting easier! It is difficult at best (I do adore most of my 'stuff') but I am dedicated to the task. Stuff has encroached my desk that doesn't belong. I am waging a war to win my desk back! Toys are everywhere, and I am drawing my line in the sand to win back a "Detoyized Zone" or DTZ. We have children, three of them who are 8, 4, and 1. These children, it would seem, thrive on clutter; chaos is  their order. But when I introduced a system of organization for their toys, something I do periodically for my own sanity, the eight-year-old was thrilled! After living with me his whole life he sees the wisdom of "a place for everything and everything in its place", he just doesn't always act on it! I am planting seeds and nurturing these children's brains to find clarity through neatness. My desk will never be pin clean or clear, but when I can find things like a surface on which to write I am a very happy woman.
Overall I just want to use the new year to dedicate myself to a better me. Without setting lofty goals with timeframes, I am encouraging myself to live fuller, happier, healthier, and calmer. I am trying to "smell the roses" while not letting "life pass me by". I am saying yes to new things but saying no to things that drag me down. I am taking responsibility for my own health, well-being, and happiness, because I'm finally understanding that I alone am in charge of those things. I'm also aware that some days will still plainly suck. Things break, children cry, tempers flare, homework is left at school, and I can't always find my calm, but now I have some tools to get through those rough patches. And I know if I keep trying to do "the next right thing" eventually I'll feel better. Using this blog as a bar to encourage myself, keep me honest, and inspire me, I am already far ahead of the game in 2011. Hopefully you can join me on this journey of living the best we can on any given day. What better gift to give ourselves in this New Year or any year?
Happy 2011! Looking forward to experiencing this year unfold with YOU!


  1. Sounds like you got a running start going into 2011. Keep up the good work.

  2. Way to go Chief I've said it many times before and I'll say it again 'Life when it is understood and utilised for what it is tastes sweet!'

    Actually Mr Lao said it first but that is another story :-)