So, it goes without saying that a woman with advanced control issues can’t resist the clean slate that is New Year’s. I’m seduced by the potential of any sentence that begins, “I resolve to…” Heck, I even like the word “resolve.” It sounds so decisive! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered more than 50 shades of grey (no, I haven’t read the book), and I occasionally crave simple, decisive action.
In short, I like resolutions…and while I’ve also been known to make them at the start of the school year and on Ash Wednesday for Lent, what better time than New Year’s to embrace my control-freaky-self and once again Resolve To Do Better?
Sometimes my resolutions are actions I’ve been considering for some time, but need additional motivation to tackle. Sometimes they’re just novelties that pop into my brain–things I think I should try (which explains how I ended up with a pair of snowshoes for Christmas this year). Currently, I have a long “to-do” list of things that other people might consider “resolutions” (you can see some of them on the banner graphic), but this is an on-going, lifelong list–a bucket list of sorts. I’ve been slowly tackling these one-by-one (including the one called “start a blog” wink, wink) and will continue working on them. Consequently, my resolutions this year aren’t going to consist of this type of “action item,” but rather they were inspired by a recent conversation with a friend and a couple of articles I’ve read. They would probably be more appropriately categorized as “attitude adjustments.” Here they are:
- 1) Assume good intentions in other people – I decided this would be a good exercise for someone who’s a bit of a cynic (e.g., me) and it has been. But interestingly, I’ve been able to take situations that would have ticked me off in the past and reframed them in my mind, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. Often my initial negative assumptions actually were wrong (imagine that!) and in general I think this one will help me reap more positive interactions with others and develop a more positive outlook over time.
- 2) Do something nice each day for myself and another person – This one sounds a little pathetic—one would hope that this would come naturally and wouldn’t require a conscious effort. But if I’m honest with myself, I know there are complete days (usually workdays) where I operate on autopilot and neglect this very simple objective. I’ve been mostly succeeding at remembering this one, but I’m hoping I can just make it a habit.
- 3) Don’t overthink things – This is a great one for me to work on. I’m hypercritical about EVERYTHING and this results in 1) analysis paralysis, 2) dissecting every idea until I decide it’s no longer worth pursuing 3) thinking about an unpleasant task for longer than it would take to actually do it. 4) Generalized anxiety about things over which I have no control over anyway. This resolution has been the hardest one for me to keep. I’ve had some small successes–for instance, it’s been a godsend when it comes to my productivity: When a thought crosses my mind (to workout, to clean something, etc.), I say to myself, “Don’t overthink it” and then just dive in and do it rather than running through mental excuses and stalling. On the other hand, I haven’t been quite as successful at applying it when it comes to those Big Important Thoughts. I still get caught up in worrying thoughts about my aging parents, my husband’s illness, my job, etc.–sometimes looping over and over in my head like that damn Gangnam Style video.
These obsessing-at-3 a.m.-thoughts are when I truly need to stop overthinking and just get my mind into a different mode, whether it’s getting a good night’s sleep, learning a new language or writing a blog post.
Are there any other resolution-minded, control freaks out there? What are your resolutions and why?