Resolutions: Looking Back, Looking Forward

To-do list on smartphone with watch in background
Image by bohed at Pixabay (CC 0)

Ah, New Year resolutions. I wasn’t going to make any. But then Sciophilous inspired me, and I realised that I’ve been making resolutions all along. This is a good time to record them.

In this past year, I resolved to:

1) Accept that I tend to be a slave in relationships, and change from being a dependent slave to a strong one. Not just reporting problems, but helping to solve them. Being a helpmeet, not a liability.

2) Relax. Literally. Physical tension was at the root of all my pain issues.

3) Stop. When I’m thirsty. When nature calls. When it hurts. When I could finish it if I just kept going. When I could keep all my promises if I just kept going. When my blog was going so well and my readers were depending on me to keep going with regular updates … you get the idea.

4) Start again.

And I did. I’m better at every single one of those things. I rebooted my whole life. This is the hardest thing I have ever done, except for living through the crash in the first place.

But the rewards have been commensurate. It’s so good to be me again. And better this time.

Funny fact: I learnt to solve every single one of those problems for blogging first, before I was able to apply the solution to the rest of my life. All hail the power of the blog!

So obviously I’d better blog my resolutions for the New Year. (Please forget the ones I tweeted. This is the new improved stuff.)

1) Make my life easier and better. Because I’ve learnt to go easier on myself, but I think now it’s time to make life go easier on me. And I can, if I step back and review the big picture, if I install habits and rewards. Because self-control works better with humility, fun and gratitude. Which goes with Resolution 2.

2) Live life like I have a master. I’ve already been doing this a little, because there is no quicker way to make me do that which seems impossible than “What would a master want me to do?”

But now that I’m in better shape, I’d like to get to the next level. Interacting with experienced slaves has been an education. And I can start learning so many of those things right now! I can figure out how they make it so easy to set up a restaurant date. I can notice my friends’ preferences. I can pick a piece of furniture to play master and orient my movements and facial expression around it. Sounds like fun!

That’s where I stopped last night. Then I suddenly remembered reading that once upon a time, teenage girls used to solemnly swear to be nicer to grandma. Now they solemnly swear to lose 10 lbs. That’s not right! And oh horrors, am I one of them? This must be remedied!

3) Choose the right. I ran into this Mormon saying in a heartbreaking, heartwarming fanfic. I love it and I’m terrified of it. It makes mincemeat of the notion that you can be a good person now and forever. It says it’s always a struggle, but you can always do it – if you’re strong enough.

Well, I want to work on my moral muscle. I have learnt so much about the right thing to do from Nonviolent Communication and Aung San Suu Kyi this year. Now I need to make myself actually do it.

This is not enough. What I admired so much about Sciophilous’s resolutions was their concreteness. So I made a lot of action plans.

Taking stock of my life every Monday night. Remembering to move as gracefully as I can, all the time. Noticing when I haven’t chosen the right, and rewarding myself with clicker training. Submitting nagging worries for advice. Being kind to my aches. Making ten to-do lists and checking them every time I –

No.

I succeeded in changing many things about myself this year, and this is not how I did it. Let’s do what works. Which is: Focus on one thing at a time.

I really, really wanted that one thing to be the gracefulness thing. Because dammit, there are intrinsic rewards to imagining a master’s eyes upon me all the time!

But then I thought I’d better be sensible and address those aches. Ugh. Boring. I’ve been addressing them all year long. Believe it or not, it’s become second nature to pick up the soap bottle with both hands.

No, it’s got to be something new. Thanks, ADD.

So I picked taking stock. Because mindfulness is ridiculously hard for me, and it’s the foundation of everything else. And because when Wondermark made a comic about to-do lists, it was All Too True.

In a sense, I guess I’m making a resolution to make resolutions. Cringe. Oh well, we all have to start somewhere!

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Apocryphally, Einstein

Good luck to us!

What do you think?