I don't make new year resolutions. I find that I make enough goals throughout the year that when January comes around, it's unnecessary. My trouble is I have ongoing goals that I never seem to master - things like finish my book, do yoga everyday, exercise at least five times a week and eat less processed foods. These are my constants and sometimes I achieve them, sometimes I don't. The bottom line is you need to want to change. And just because it's a new year doesn't mean it's a magical time to begin your new life or start a new you.
Around ten years ago, I fell under something akin to depression. Although I was never diagnosed with anything (I never asked, to be honest), I'm pretty sure I was dysthymic - which is a low-grade depression that affects your everyday life, but isn't debilitating. Anyway, in order to quell this new crappy feeling, I began eating my way out to make myself feel better. Naturally, I gained weight. I put on around 18 lbs within a two-ish year span. Previously I had always prided myself on being fit and lean. I ran 20 miles for fun, I ate my greens and I felt great. But then I was stuck in a living situation where I became desolate and I sort of lost myself. I was in a job that I loathed, had moved to a new place where I had no friends and I felt empty and alone. I became anti-social, barely making it out of my quarters to talk to anyone, which I'm sure only made things worse. I was miserable doing what I was doing and I hated myself for falling down that wretched hole. Yet, I couldn't seem to bring myself out of it. It wasn't until I connected with some new people that I began to feel myself again. I lost about eight pounds because I stopped eating trashy foods to lift my mood and for the first time in a long while I had people around whose company I enjoyed, even grew to love. I still wasn't where I wanted to be physically. I took a picture of myself in the mirror and seeing myself that way made all the difference. It made me want to change. Once I had made that decision, the rest came easy - at least with losing those unwanted pounds.
This may come across as saying that I bounced out of depression in an instant, therefore anyone could. No, that's not it at all. I do not dismiss mental illness or in any way say that quelling these illnesses are easy. But for me I know it was all related to this certain period in my life. In experiencing it, I now know what to avoid. I'm certainly no psychologist or even close, but I do know myself. And once I wanted to make a change - once I could - I did.
Aside from that, there was a time not too long ago when I was concentrating mostly on my photography, and then I moved on to art and ceramics. All that time I'd been simultaneously writing my book and had written a draft that was so far removed from the one I'm writing now, it's almost like a new story. Then I realized I can't do it all. I have to pick one thing and do it. I chose writing. Once I made that decision, my progress catapulted enormously. Again - this was a change I wanted to make.
Finishing (and publishing!!) my book is on a short list of ongoing goals alongside daily yoga and trying not to turn into a tub of unfit jelly. And while I am not the lean machine I once was, I am definitely not where I was ten years ago. Not even close.
And my book? I have a new deadline - but once I realized how much I wanted this, I have not ceased moving forward. I sometimes have to push myself a little. Sometimes I need to search for inspiration. But nowadays those moments are rare - I want this. That's the bottom line. January be damned.