I was driving the other day when my offspring, now nearly an adult, asked a very interesting question.
“Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions, mom?”
I responded by explaining…yes and no. (Poor kid.) I said that I don’t necessarily believe that new Year’s resolutions will stick, and I said that I think that for most people they are doomed to failure.
I’m not trying to be negative here. I think that’s the case for a few reasons. Firstly, people are usually pretty vague. “I want to lose weight” doesn’t mean much in the real world, so it’s hard to turn that into a daily, actionable goal. (Deciding to log your food, or taking part in a regular exercise program/class is probably far more beneficial.) You need to have specific, actionable goals. Daydreams will not cut it.
So I explained the necessity of definable goals.
I also noted the other problem I see, and that is that people love to dive in headfirst. They decide that they are going to go from relatively sedentary to running a 5k a day overnight. Intense efforts out of nowhere are a huge shock to the body, and you could be paving the way to injury, exhaustion or frustration. Plus getting hurt will build a negative association with exercise. Too much too soon is generally not helpful in the long run.
I told him that I have goals, but that I always have goals, and for me, New Year’s is a time just to reaffirm those goals. My current big ones?
- Gently increase the exercise my foot can handle/strength in my ankle while maintaining my strength training efforts.
- Be less negative toward myself by assessing and noticing my internal monologue
- Get some actual focussed writing done by improving how I budget my time
Speaking of productivity, I think those who know me well know that there is a real push-pull that goes on within me at all times; I have my kooky off the wall, late-night-party side, and my I-want-to-be-productive, let’s-have-smoothies-after-we-hit-the-gym health-nut side.
Trying to balance them is rough. Like with the whole getting up early thing. I find maintaining a good sleep/morning routine really, truly, insanely hard. This can be disheartening, as a lot of the people I look to as productivity gurus seem to be regularly rising to take on the world at 5AM.
Meanwhile, it seems I’m more likely to experience 5AM from the other side! Over Christmas I had some time off. Since I had the freedom, I decided to take the pressure off myself and just go to bed whenever I was tired. Result? A couple of nights I stayed up until 4AM, but most of the time I started feeling the pressure to sleep between 1:30 and 2AM.
1:30 and 2AM! Routinely. Happy to get ready for bed around 1:30. No wonder I have trouble fitting with the 9-5 business world.
Clearly, I am a night person. When well-slept I have no trouble staying awake and social until 2AM. I have even been known to enjoy the occasional 10:30PM trip to the gym on a weekend. I can do stuff, like cleaning, or making candles at 11PM and still be genuinely productive. Morning larks don’t want to be doing housework at midnight. That’s perfectly fine for me.
The downsides of this tendency are obvious and many. Am still half- asleep at 11:30AM. My brain box doesn’t feel fully functional until noon or so. Morning exercise makes schedule-sense but is very difficult for me to carry out in practice. Being forced to get up early for school or work is slightly tortuous. Coffee required.
I don’t have a solution to this quandary now, as I face down the new year. The best I can say is that I will probably stop trying to force 5AM on myself. 7AM is the time I need to regularly get up,and I will do my damndest now to enforce at least THAT semi-productive/responsible schedule.
(I recently learned about the concept of “sleep pressure,” and from what I can tell, I don’t typically feel much of it unless I’m very very physically tired or it’s very late. Sleep science is interesting!)
On a totally different topic, I am very pleased to say that my foot/ankle is getting better! I know I mentioned that I’m experiencing an issue, and the problem seems to be extensor tendonitis. I am only now getting back to being able to walk for 20 minutes. (Finally up to 20 minutes, yay!) I’m working with a physiotherapist and he has been extremely helpful and given me a way to progress. I’m SO HAPPY to see a way out of this thing.
Wishing you all continued health, happiness and truly restful sleeps,