Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Speaking of self-esteem and honoring the promises we make to ourselves . . .

Last night I decided that this morning I would get up early and go running. That is a promise I have made to myself many times in the past, but THIS time, I was sure it would be different. After all, I had an EPIPHANY last night, right? Riiiiiiiight. ::::sigh:::: Last night I tossed and turned all night, and when my alarm went off at the earlier time, I had cramps like I could not believe. AND I’d slept on my shoulder funny, so now my upper back hurts like hell.

I did not get up and go running or walking – I didn’t even get up. And as I lay there, I heard the old tapes start up in my head: “You do this to yourself EVERY time. What is WRONG with you? Why can’t you just fucking get up and do what you say you’ll do for once? God, you’re so weak!” And on and on and on. Because I felt so bad about myself, I didn’t eat well today; in fact I ate a lot of simple carbs and I was tired for most of the day.

Now, for the most part I was able to remember that those tapes are not RIGHT, both in the sense that they are inaccurate and in the sense that they are just fucking mean. But I still felt vaguely disappointed in myself. And that, for me, is the worst feeling. I’d rather be angry with myself or frustrated or even spiteful. But that feeling of disappointment just makes me feel beaten.


Here’s my new lesson: when I have a goal that I’ve set and failed to meet multiple times, I need to remember that unconsciously I have a LOT of certainty that I will fail again. All the good intentions in the world are not enough to overturn years of failure. In that case (and this seems like a huge DUH in retrospect, but hindsight is always 20/20, right?) it might be a better idea to start with a SMALLER freakin’ goal. Something that I haven’t failed at 50 times already.

So with that in mind, here’s the mental progression I went through:
I’m going to get up every morning and walk or run. (I’ve failed at that one too many times to count.)
I’m going to get up early 3 days a week and walk or run. (I’ve failed at that one an awful lot, too.)
I’m going to get up early and do yoga. (Better – I’ve followed through on that one, but I’ve also failed at it, and since right now I’m leaning toward failure, I need to keep looking.)
I’m just going to get up early. (Better, but get up early and do WHAT? Because I know from experience that if I’m just getting up early for no reason, I won’t really get up.)
I’m going to get up early and write or read and have a cup of coffee and some time to myself. (Better still, but not quite right; coffee and quiet time won’t seem that important at 5:00am.)
(What is the central problem I have with getting up early? I’m always tired. How do I fix that? Ummmmm . . . .go to bed earlier?)

How about this: I’m going to go to bed early enough that getting up early starts to seem possible. I’ll revisit ACTUALLY getting up in a week or so.

The funny thing is, I look at that idea and think, “Yeah, right. But you’re not really DOING anything!!!! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” And I’d be inclined to listen to that voice, except that THAT is the voice that always causes me to fall on my ass. So I’m thinking that if/when I find something that that voice thinks is stupid, maybe that’s exactly the thing I should be doing. The logic is a little backwards there, but fuck it. Obviously the way I’ve been doing it (listening to that voice) hasn’t worked worth a damn, so this can’t work any WORSE, right?

I’m trying to remember that if I really want to change my life, I have, have, HAVE to do it incrementally. I have to do it in steps so small that they just become habits over time. And it might take longer than I want it to. Maybe it won’t take me a week to get into the habit of going to bed early; maybe it will take a month. And then it will take more time to get into the habit of getting up early – every day, even on weekends, because it’s just a HABIT. And then I can start thinking about using that time to exercise. That doesn’t mean I can’t walk or run or get some exercise in the meantime; it just means I’m not going to beat myself up for not GETTING UP AT 5AM 6 DAYS A WEEK AND RUNNING 3 MILES EVERY DAY, EVERY DAY, EVERY DAY.

Because THAT voice is fucking INSANE.

But doing this in teeny, tiny steps also means that I get to celebrate each individual step as a victory: as a promise kept. And you know what that builds, right? Self-esteem. And self-esteem repairs the 3rd chakra. And I’m hoping that THAT will cause me to drop some weight. We’ll see. (Hell, even if I don’t drop weight, I’ll be happier. That should be even BETTER than losing weight, right? That’s what I hear, anyway. LOL)

I have some more thinking to do about this. Maybe I’ll actually make some resolutions this New Year’s. (S.M.A.R.T. ones: Specific, Measurable, Attainable . . . I don’t remember what the R and the T stand for. I’ll have to look it up.) They’ll just be a little belated. ;)

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