I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions per se. I think a new year is a good time to talk about goals and ambitions, but overall I always err on the side of not setting myself up for failure.
A while ago I set the goal of being able to hold Crow pose in yoga. Did it. Cannot still do it, but I did it. I decided to cut out cosmetics with animal products/animal testing. To buy leather only if vintage. These were all goals/ideas/philosophies decided upon vaguely around the New Year, but I don’t like to call them New Year’s Resolutions because as a human I’m bound to mess it up eventually, and I don’t want to spend each New Year’s Eve thinking of what I failed at then plotting a new course of possible failure for the next year. Sounds super depressing.
A couple of years ago I asked my sister what her resolution was going to be for that year. She thought about it for probably an entire minute before saying “I don’t know…just…like…be better?” At the time, I laughed at that response, mostly because of how hard she pondered to come up with a sort of valley girl response. But in retrospect, it was wise beyond her years. Now I just use that as my default answer when anyone asks me about my plans for self-improvement in the new year. But it’s an ongoing process, it’s doesn’t end when the year ends or start on January 1. Overall, as a rule, I’m just working towards ‘being better.’
This year that means a little accountability for myself. The most popular and probably most cliché resolutions of all usually revolve around fitness. Losing weight. Working out more. Controlling one’s diet. All noble goals, but usually set too high or at least too specific thereby leading to the aforementioned failure. For me fitness is just part of health. And I’ve been slacking since coming to Japan.
After the baby was born, I began walking (instead of waddling with an accompanying sound of ‘ker-plop ker-plop ker-plunk’) again. Then I began running. Then the weight came off. Then the shape of my body, though altered in really weird ways like flat chest was now busty bosom and juicy butt was now flat ass, became more recognizable. And mostly I just felt good. About myself. About life. About how it was all going.
Coming here led to me slowing down a bit too much in the physical sense. Our dog babies are not here, a source of constant sorrow for me, so I have no ready-made excuse for long walks each day. I still run, but not that much. I do a bit of yoga, but find it hard to be inspired when practicing alone. And the loneliness and isolation of the place has, I hate to admit, seeped into my motivational core and sucked some of the juice out. The delicious motivation juice.
Part of the issue (or at least what I like to tell myself when I have quiet moments to think) is that I am a ‘big picture’ person. I can work out today but without seeing where that’s leading I can easily be distracted by something else. When I’m running regularly, I see the results daily. As soon as you’re in the groove, your times improve and your endurance increases and it’s tangible. When you’re running sporadically…not so much. And when the teensiest tiniest bit of laziness creeps in I allow myself to say ‘what’s the point? wouldn’t 40 minutes spent sleeping be a better use of time?’ (disclaimer: sometimes the answer to that question is legitimately ‘yes yes yes’)
So this year, on this blog, I’ll be holding myself accountable with a matryoshka calendar I bought at the 100 yen shop. On any day that I run, walk, do yoga, swim, dance, jump rope or perhaps my favorite arm pyramid, that date will be circled. I won’t be distinguishing between what activity I did that day, I’ll just make the mark. The calendar will show what’s been done, or not done, in a clear, concise way. My body will likely feel in a corresponding way. It will be a visual reminder of what I already know, either that I’m respecting my body and mind’s desire to move and sweat, or I’m neglecting those instincts. On the first of each month I’ll post a picture of last month’s calendar complete with circles or non-circles…so far so good.