It’s that time of year where New Year Resolutions are made and you see “New Year, New Me” everywhere! I’ve tried that scene and like 95% of the population, I failed miserably by the end of February. Once the excitement and fresh feeling of a new beginning wore off and the drudgery of everyday life kicked in, it was too easy to just stop. Difficulty of the task was never it for me. It was always getting bored along the way. My mind runs 1,000 mph so if you lose me, chances are you won’t get me back.
So when I saw Leigh Bardugo’s tweet on 27 December, I was kind of sceptical. #BAYMTGO – Begin As You Mean To Go On! She wanted to set the stage for something that was more about being intentional and habit forming than anything else. Plus, it was pretty straight forward – Start today how you want to live the rest of 2020. Ms. Bardugo kicked off the year with sprint exercises and it sounded like you could pick whatever you wanted. Here’s her basic rules:
- Pick something you want to devote more time to in the new year.
- On January 1st, dedicate at least 15 minutes doing that thing.
As you can see, I was supposed to start on the 1st. Yeah, that obviously didn’t happen. But better late than never, right? My problem was and still is that I want to do more of everything this year. I want to devote time to reading. I want to explore more hiking trails. I want to camp and kayak new places. I want to try new restaurants and do more day trips. I want to spend more time at the horse barn where I volunteer and I want to start agility training and lure coursing with my Schnauzer. I want to attend more local spouse events. I want to go to more Husky meet-ups with the local Nordic Breed club and get back to canine biking with my Sibe. I also want to find an exercise class to help me get my cardio back after spending most of 2019 sick and on the couch.
You see? I want to do ALL THE THINGS!!! So how was I supposed to pick JUST ONE?! Then it clicked. I don’t have to pick just one. I just have to pick one for the day. I can do all the things I want, I just have to be intentional about them. I had to schedule time in for myself instead of trying to fit it in around everything else that was pulling my attention away. Some call it self-care scheduling and in a way it is because you’re doing what you want to do, what nourishes your soul. When you’re intentional, you make that thing a priority. And when you’re intentional for long enough, it becomes a habit.
That 8 hour Franklin Covey class I took last year on time management to find work / life balance was summed up in a short tweet by one of my favorite authors. Ms. Bardugo’s 15 minutes per day minimum was the same as Mr. Covey’s “Big Rock” items. I suppose all I needed was for it to be simplified and in a manner I could easily integrate.
2018 saw me trying to do everything but there was no structure to it. I squeezed in the things I loved when I could and ended up running on mental, physical, and emotional fumes most of the time. My calendar was a hodge-podge of things work and school related that began to inspire dread instead of excitement. At the same time, I desperately needed escapes to keep my sanity and wanted to still be that perfect daughter, sister, and wife.
Trying to push myself to fit everything in all fell apart the beginning of 2019. I saw my first hospital stay in February after losing my 15 year old furry best friend. I stumbled for a few months until my body couldn’t take anymore and in July, I was admitted again. My Crohn’s disease was in an intense active flare and I needed a hard stop before it got past the point of no return. 2 more hospital stays, 2 minor surgeries, and full medication change from a new gastroenterologist (because I was more than my previous one could handle) was to be the rest of my summer and fall. I didn’t get to go back to work until November of last year and even now, I’m still dealing with the after effects of my health tanking. I pushed too hard to do everything at the expense of myself. It’s a tough lesson to learn.
So I’m taking Ms. Bardugo’s #BAYMTGO challenge to heart. Yesterday I tried a free pilates class. Tonight I’m meeting with some other military spouses then later reading a little of the book my niece gave me. Tomorrow I plan to watch Togo on Disney+ and do nothing else but sit and enjoy it (I normally do chores like dishes or folding laundry when I watch a show). Every day, from here on out, I’m going to be intentional about scheduling time for myself. A little bit each day until it becomes a habit.
What do you want to see out of 2020?