Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Groundhog’s Day Resolutions

Today tastes like lamb, green chile, and refried beans on fry bread. With a fry bread disc waiting in the wings with chocolate and butter. Circulation is overrated, right?

I’ve talked before about waiting to make resolutions until February 2, because the three-month holiday at the end of the year is like a busman’s holiday–we go to work, we do our thing BUT there’s a party at the end of each month. Halloween and the extra candy we buy for the trick-or-treaters (funny how it’s always a bag of our faves, isn’t it?) Thanksgiving and the groaning board feast (and the three weeks of leftovers; anything is better with butter and cream sauces). Then Christmas, with the cookie exchanges, the fruit and cookie baskets from associates who want to be remembered, the special celebratory goodies (ain’t Christmas without Julie’s fruitcake and Sam’s candied nuts). By January 1, we’re feeling bloated and hungover, not just from the champagne, but from the vacation from reality we’ve had.

So we’re ready to make resolutions. Lots of resolutions. All of them involving hair shirts, because we’ve partied so hard for the past ninety days. No fat, no sugar, no salt! Exercise three hours every day! More family time, more me time, more work time, fix the house up into a palatial mansion!

And then we drop them, and beat ourselves up for dropping an unrealistic expectation.

David Seah has a system for making resolutions on February 2–Groundhog Day– and then reviewing your progress each successive month, on March 3, April 4, May 5 and so on. The idea is to keep you cognizant of your expressed desires and goals, and to give yourself a reality check. You wanted to lose fifty pounds this year? How’s that going? Have you started an exercise program? Have you given up Doritos? More importantly, has your goal changed? Because goals DO change, and it’s important to honor that.

And at the same time, if you aren’t tracking your progress, how do you know what’s holding you back? How do you know where you need to set your feet and push, versus where you’re rolling like Sisyphus’s boulder downhill?

I’m limiting myself to three resolutions. I’m a listmaker by nature, and once I get started I can make lists that go on for miles. Problem is, that then I wind up not getting everything on that ginormous list done, and then I use it like a tool of Alecto, rather than an instrument of Calliope.


1. I will not beat myself up for falling short of perfection with respect to this list. Progress is progress is progress, with apologies to Gertrude Stein.

2. I will complete 9 knitted projects this year. That should be doable–I knit during lunch and on the way home, so I get about an hour and a half each day built into my schedule.

3. I will complete three spreads per month in the art journal. That’s one per week, with a week off to knit. Again, doable. I may have to work a bit on some that are more challenging (like this week’s entry, which involves some drawing. Eeeesh. I hate my drawing. I don’t know why, I see others who draw in a similar style and LIKE their work. I suspect I just need to do more . . .)

Funny--as I was writing this list, I intended to add "work out 5-6 times per week" and "complete 1,000 inches of art this year" to the list, but I didn't. I realized that I've got a pretty good grip on my exercise schedule--I DO work out 5-6 times per week, and notice when I skip days. I'll often make up for a missed day. And if I adhere to the three spreads per month, I'll easily get 1,000 inches in, regardless of how many ATC's I make this year. Further, I thought about adding a writing resolution--but I've gotten in the habit of these weekly missives, and I've been putting out 55 word stories every day since the first of the year. These have become habits and routines. Forgetting to do them is like forgetting to put on my socks. It takes a conscious choice at a specific moment to make it NOT happen.

Not too shabby.

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