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January 2, 2013

January (Energy)

Hello, new year, you are all full-up with possibility that something terrific could happen in the next 365 days. My 12-month plan is posted on the wall, I've got a fresh calendar ready and a shiny pack of foil stars from Office Depot because I am an awesomely huge nerd.

This year I am turning myself into my own science experiment. I'm super excited about it. Most of the time the changes that shape me are unexpected and take me by surprise. I prefer shaping my own path, so why not start right now?

Creating lists and setting goals makes me happy. Not everyone is this wired for bullet points, of course. Every time I talk about my love of goal setting it makes some people uneasy, especially The Gratitude Police who show up with their finger-wagging platitudes, saying:  "You should just be happy with what you have! Be grateful! Other people have it worse!"  I don't understand Gratitude Policing AT ALL. Are we supposed to stop setting goals, just be grateful and .. what? Wait to die? I am not built that way. Setting goals is my way of paying back the Universe for the pleasure of living. It's a huge expression of thanks! Trying to live to higher standards is a tenet of every religion on earth. Great spiritual leaders never sat around telling strangers to shut up, be grateful, and stop making improvements.

So, to be clear, this is my personal way of expressing thanks for my life -- by making a plan to not squander all I've been given. I will let my freak flag fly and cover it with foil stars from the office supply store if that is my thrill.

By the way, that IS my thrill.

I'm a huge fan of the Grand Gesture, a big sweeping moment of change. (Think, "I want to quit my job!" or "To hell with this, I'm moving to France!") I've done a few of those in my life and while satisfying, the grand gesture just isn't practical every single day of our lives. In 2013, I'm working my science experiment inside the confines of my day-to-day life, to see if small changes worked every day can really add up into big change by the end of the year.

My January goal is to improve my energy. I need energy so I can accomplish my other goals for the year. This theme is swiped directly from Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project. I rarely recommend self-help books here because I am sensitive to the amount of cheese one human can push on another, but The Happiness Project is a wonderful book that reads more like a memoir. If you need inspiration, guidance, and fresh ideas on getting your year off to a good start this is the book. The author is charming and pragmatic and she's done all the research for you, essentially rounding up a century's worth of advice and research on happiness and distilling it down to the essence.

(Some of) My January Goals

Take vitamins every single day for the entire month
Get at least 20 minutes of physical activity each day
Go to bed at a regular time every night and try to sleep for 8 hours
Eat three nutritious meals each day
Declutter or clean house for 20 minutes each day
Read one fiction book I'm excited about
Write in the mornings
Floss every night

I'm not posting the whole list lest I seem like an insane person, but you get the idea. Some of these things seem so basic -- take a vitamin -- but I often skip or forget. And others, like sleep, are biological necessities that I have come to think of as luxuries in my weird, busy world. Many of my goals don't initially seem to be in service of the theme but living in a clean home, taking care of myself and relaxing with a good book are things that make me feel lighter and happier. Everything I do and say and eat and drink in January will be intended to boost my energy, that's my plan for the month. Also, it's measurable -- 20 minutes a day, one a month, etc. Hello, science! I am measuring stuff!

Are you making a January plan? I'd love to hear about it!

I'll let you know how mine goes at the end of the month. It ought to be an interesting four weeks. My inner Type-A is saying, I BETTER SEE A WALL FULL OF GOLD STARS. My outer sloth is saying, did I really sign up for this? 

I'll be here radiating adorableness while you get right on that.

Posted by laurie at January 2, 2013 6:46 AM