Thursday, January 3, 2013

Choose


Some people make specific new year’s resolutions, like to lose twenty pounds, stop smoking or learn guitar. Others think resolutions are pointless and don’t even bother making any.

In years past, I’ve tried both tactics, and neither has ever helped me achieve any sort of self-improvement or increased happiness. So this year, I thought I would try another method – picking a word/concept/theme to apply to my life. From what I read, it really works.

So my word for the year is CHOOSE. This might sound ridiculous or simplistic, but hear me out. We make choices all day every day. We choose to do things or not. Big choices, small choices. Some significant, some not. Because we are constantly making these choices, we often don’t realize that we’re making them. We get into habits and routines, and we react seemingly without thinking. But all of those actions (or inactions) are choices.

Remembering that everything is a choice is sort of freeing in a way. I don’t have to be a slave to my routines, habits or reactions. I can let go of all my excuses and just try.  

So what does CHOOSE look like for me in 2013? First, I’m choosing to be more positive. For example, that means choosing not to get all bent when someone cuts in front of me in line at REI (like they did today). It means choosing to give people the benefit of the doubt, choosing not to just react, and choosing not to carry all that negative energy around with me. Sometimes this will be easy. Usually it will be hard. I’ll fail a lot, but that’s okay. Eventually, my habits and reactions will change, and letting go will be easier.

Second, in my never-ending quest to find a healthy equilibrium, I’m choosing to not be a doormat. I made a lot of progress years ago after my divorce, but I’ve recently discovered that I still have a ways to go. I don’t have to stay quiet and let the weight of resentment crush me in order to keep the peace. I also don’t have to unleash total hellfire in order to protect my self-worth. When that knot starts forming in my belly, that’s my cue to take a breath and make a better choice than I would normally make.

Finally, I’m choosing to be healthier. Physical health and fitness have always been important to me. But since Quinn was born, I’ve only been going to the gym sporadically because he hates the child care room there and I have no one to watch him on a regular basis. So today I let go of all my excuses and made the hardest choice of all. I, Melissa, who is so NOT-at-all-a-morning-person, got up at 5AM and went to the gym before Hubs left for work. And it actually felt good. I also found a bunch of home workouts for when Hubs is traveling and Q is sleeping. And I’m going to choose to do them.

There are a million ways I can make better choices. Throughout the year, I’m sure I’ll discover more and discard others. The point is that on December 31, 2013, I’ll be proud of the changes I made and happier with myself.

In the past, I always poo-poo’ed the idea of a resolution “word” because I thought it seemed like a new year’s cop out. How is this even measureable? What does success look like? I mean, losing twenty pounds, quitting smoking and learning to play guitar are tangible, quantifiable goals and remarkable accomplishments. But learning to choose? Really?

But maybe that’s exactly why this actually has a chance at being successful. People tend to give up on resolutions. Once they begin to slip, they feel guilty, beat themselves up, slip some more, feel like total failures, and eventually say “screw it.” With the word method, I can apply it to multiple areas of my life. Some will work, some won’t. But my chances of having at least a little bit of success are pretty good.

With traditional resolutions, you take them pass/fail. You either succeed all the way, or you don’t. With the word method, I feel like there’s a grading scale, and I’d be happy with a “C” my first year. At least that’s better than the usual big fat “F” I get every year after giving up on a resolution. And maybe after a few years, I’ll get that A+. I’ll take slow and steady progress over no progress at all.

And right now, I’m choosing to dump out the rest of this wine glass (yes, really) and go to bed. My alarm is set for the ungodly hour of 5AM. Good thing I didn’t choose to give up Red Bull. That’s just crazy talk.


Linking up with Mama Kat and Sisters from Another Mister today. Go visit them. Now! Go!



18 comments:

  1. Your word for the year is a great word - "Choose". And have learnt from this information that it is this word that one needs to use to un-ending quest to stop smoking.

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    1. Absolutely! You can choose every day to quit, every minute. You can choose your health over your habit. You deserve it. Best of luck on quitting smoking. Thanks for coming by!

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  2. To choose or not to choose... great choice! And I like the idea that it becomes a grade; not a pass/fail. I think we would all work more towards a grade. And like you said, even if it takes a few months, a few years, to reach that A, it's OK. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Carol! I definitely think the idea of a grade range that is an accumulation of multiple areas is way less discouraging than a pass/fail grade in just one area. Thanks for coming by!

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  3. Making a list of resolutions is like reading your horoscope - you deal with it for the day ... and move on ;)
    love that you linked your post to my ONE Word, and it is a perfect 'choice' xxx

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    1. Yes! It IS like reading your horoscope. :) We have to go easy on ourselves and take it a day at a time. Or even a minute at a time!

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  4. I really like your theme of "Choose." Life is really what we choose to make it. Thought provoking post!

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm thrilled you stopped by!

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  5. I think your personality comes through in your writing Melissa, and you seem very upbeat and positive and a loving wife and mother. What ever you CHOOSE this year, may it bring you happiness!

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  6. what a great idea! always here to support you!

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    1. Thanks, sweetie. You're such wonderful friend!

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  7. I like the One Word deal because it keeps me anchored and brings me back to the place that matters. My 2012 word was Calm, and everything around me was far from it, but *I* was. All because I had that word. (well, 80% of the time anyway)

    My word this year is DO. Have an entire post about it on Monday. :)

    Good luck with your word, everything you're choosing to do and Happy New Year!

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  8. This is a wonderful word to "Choose" and I totally get it. Good luck. I want to get back into the swing of things and start my work out routine again. Monday, bright and early I'm walking again and I will make time to fit it 2-3 Pilates work-outs at home.

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  9. I have to share a good CHOICE that I made last night. I was so busy yesterday that I didn't have time to work out, but at 8pm after little Wyatt man fell asleep, I headed downstairs to the treadmill. I did a quick 30min workout and it felt so good. My theme for losing weight is to "choose your hard". I admit that I got this from a post on pinterest, LOL, but it's true! Being overweight is hard and losing weight is hard. I'm choosing my hard.

    Good luck to you on a year full of good choices!

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  10. I love this idea. A choice to do something better for ourselves is more sustainable (and less intimidating) than a big 'ole scary new year's resolution. And in a world ruled by our little people, the choice perhaps even helps us feel more in control! Happy new year!

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