2019! Hi, holy cow, I can’t believe we’re here. How did 2018 go so fast? Am I officially aged into that category of people who routinely states “This year is just flying by!?”…
It’s that time of year - I, being basic, am naturally a longtime maker of resolutions and traditionally really enjoy the exercise of sitting down, evaluating where I’ve succeeded in the year past, and where I have room to improve. For some reason, I feel really good about 2019 after a lot of angst, illness and stress in the latter half of 2018…nowhere to go from here but up, is how I’m choosing to see it.
Last year’s resolutions ended up being a bit of a mixed bag, success-wise. I truly knocked “explore more of the Bay Area” out of the park, due in large part to old friends visiting and new, local friends knowing just where to go - a combination that really enriched my life last year. “Try harder at dating” was a sort of rollercoaster - there was definitely dating, and I definitely tried harder, with widely varied results, largely TBD at this point frankly. “Do more yoga” led me to commit to practicing three times weekly at work, a habit I now cherish, find so rewarding, and will absolutely continue in the new year. And finally, “Write more” was just a truly epic fail - hence its inclusion in this year’s list for the third year running, ugh.
My big intention was to “be open,” and I think that set me up last year to stand up for myself a little more, to say what I think a bit more readily, and to, in general, accept and embrace experiences and people as they are. That said, I am still a people-pleasing doormat who internalizes to a fault, a fact that has proved detrimental to my mental and emotional well-being at various points over the year, and will be a focal point going forward.
With that little look down memory lane, here we go: the chosen Lizzie format of a few small resolutions and one big intention/theme…
1. Cut back on social media.
You guys, I spend SO much time on my phone. Some of it is essential/unavoidable - responding to emails on the fly, texting, or calling family and friends. Some of it is value-added - I read a lot on my phone, although that should drop off with the purchase of a Kindle, and I manage to-do lists, my calendar, and fitness tracking through apps. The vast majority of my phone time, however, is social media - particularly Twitter and Instagram - and it’s just in no way justifiable to be spending as much time on apps as I do.
I’m going to focus on keeping my phone put away during the workday to stop the brain drain of playing on social media while I’m working, and I need to try harder to keep it out of sight/out of mind while I’m home in the evenings. Hopefully this will lead to a perceptible uptick in spending more time reading, writing, cooking, working out and actually engaging with and focusing on my friends - even without sharing it to the Gram, oh the horror!
2. Spend more thoughtfully.
Dave and I have had a lot of conversations lately about our skewed spending priorities - we’ll look at price per oz at the grocery store, lament the cost of goods like eggs, gas, etc, and yet have no problem dropping money at our favorite breweries, on eating out, or entertainment. Add to that the fact that I have a fairly expensive wine habit and love to shop, and you’ve got an arena where I could benefit from a more intentional, focused approach.
I’m planning to skip wine club shipments for at least the first half of the year (or maybe to divert them to my family?!), and to cut back as much as possible on the breweries/eating out aspect of my social life - it’s gotten really out-of-hand and excessive lately. As for shopping, I think focusing on whether I’m buying things because I need/love them, or because I’m bored, will be beneficial. All in all, I’m definitely financially secure, but want to focus on making 2019 a year that’s a bit more rational and a bit less hedonistic in the financial arena.
3. Write more.
I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS HAS TO BE A RESOLUTION FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW. Ugh, mortifying. Looking back at 2018, I wrote a lot at work and very little outside of it, for myriad reasons - I maintained a very busy social life, I spent a lot of time on other activities (reading, Netflix, apps BOO), and I suffered a lot from writer’s block/a general lack of desire to write last year.
This year, I think I just need to actually take last year’s resolution to heart: “I plan to stick to a more stringent writing schedule this year, and to be better about chronicling things - even if it's a "quantity over quality" exercise from time to time.” I calendared out my blog for the next month or two, and hopefully that will be helpful in holding me accountable. Further, I need to schedule writing time into my day just like I schedule in cooking, commute, work, gym, et cetera - treating it as something I have to do, not something I just choose to do, should make it more of a habit and part of my daily routine.
4. Do a better job of staying in touch with friends.
I found myself really burned out in 2018 by extending effort to maintain friendships with people who really didn’t put in as much effort on their end, and unfortunately that leaked over into a general battening down of the communication hatches, a battening that negatively affected my very dearest, truest friends. Couple that with the fact that I am terrible about talking on the phone and generally don’t enjoy texting, and it makes it difficult to stay in touch, especially with my friends as scattered across the country as they are.
This year, I resolve to completely stop wasting my energy on those who don’t return it or add value to my life, and to be more considerate of those who do - with regular check-ins via text, phone or even, ooh, snail mail. I also love sending little things “just because” - so much more special than waiting for big occasions. Hopefully this focus on quality over quantity will do wonderful things toward continually strengthening my relationships with the sterling people in my life!
And the big theme for 2019:
Treat myself better.
Really, this statement could be interpreted in any of a variety of ways, and I think that’s why it’s the perfect theme for this year. I was really down on myself toward the end of 2018 - insecure in my body, unsure about my personal happiness, and doubting a lot of things. Then I ended 2018 with a dramatic hospitalization, and realized that I was really just in general not taking good care of myself - physically, emotionally, mentally, you name it.
At the very basest level, I need to take better care of myself physically. My recent health scare is really putting into perspective that I’m getting older - 30 is right around the corner, and I’ve let myself justify bad habits for far too long. I’m already off to a solid start in 2019 of cutting down majorly on alcohol, working on eating better (and ordering in/eating out less), and making sure to hit the gym daily. I’m being proactive about seeing the specialists I need to see, and about the regular appointments too - eye doctors, dermatologists, dentists, even laser hair removal ooh OOH! I was scared enough by my recent issues to really commit to this, and while I’m disappointed in myself that it took that extreme a situation to prompt an overhaul, I truly think this will galvanize me to actually see a lifestyle change through.
More deeply and intuitively, however, I need to be kinder to myself. I finished 2018 really feeling depleted and downtrodden for numerous reasons. Fundamentally, I expend a lot of energy on other people - building them up, being there for them, ensuring I’m a good friend/sister/daughter/lover/employee, what have you - and I tend to leave myself very little at the end of all of that. I often feel like I don’t get that level of commitment back from others in return, and it frustrates me, especially when I realize I’ve spent so much energy on others that I can’t be there for myself. Further, the amount of negative self-talk and general self-loathing/negativity I’ve allowed to leech into my life is immensely damaging - I would legitimately never treat someone I cared about the way I treat myself. I am truly my harshest critic and own worst enemy, and that engenders spirals of shame, self-doubt and insecurity on a regular basis.
With that in mind, I’m going to do something that I’ve historically maligned this year, and put myself first for once. I’m going to speak up when others let me down, hold people accountable, and, most importantly, stop making excuses for others’ bad behavior. Even more so, I’m going to hold myself accountable to, as my mother so aptly puts it, “practice self compassion.” I’m only human - I’m flawed and I’m failing, but I try damn hard every day to be a good person, and I need to remember that when I get down on myself for not finishing a to-do list, for trusting people who don’t deserve it, for being unattractive or nerdy or awkward. Remembering that I am worthy and valuable and loved, and treating myself with love and care and compassion on a daily basis, is going to be the key to so many good things this year - I can already feel it.