Happy New Year! I took a short break for the holidays and I'm glad I did it. I was busy, busy, busy all of December. That is probably why I spent nearly every day between Christmas and New Year's lying around watching Miss Marple and Poirot with the dog snuggled beside me.
I am one of those people who hates New Year's as a holiday. I hate big, loud parties. I hate sad drinking (which it always is on NYE). I hate goodbyes, even if they're just about time passing. So, it isn't a surprise I hate NYE and, really, even NY Day. This year, I was feeling a bit buggy (I still am, if I'm honest) and missed my plans for the evening. I fell asleep at 9PM on Dec 31st and woke up on Jan 1st at about 10AM. I literally slept through New Year's. I'm glad I did. 13 hours of sleep is probably excessive, but I think I needed it. I think I needed to fall asleep on 2017 and wake up in 2018 having completely shed the one for the other.
A lot of people have been glad to see 2017 go. I think that always happens at the end of the year. This year was especially grim if you're not, say, an older white man who doesn't think or care about others. However, for me 2017 wasn't so bad. I finally fell into a sustainable rhythm with my meds and therapy and saw my depression and anxiety fall to a new low. I traveled to places I wanted to see, spent time with people I love, and made some big plans for my future. Politically, I was as miserable as many other people, but personally I was happier than I've been in a long time.
Despite my hatred for New Year's Eve, I have always been a firm believer in making Resolutions. I don't generally share them because I am as big a failure at them as anyone else. However, I used to always love making them. This year, though, I decided to forgo Resolutions. What I've found actually works for me is a Vision Board. For the last two years, I've made a "digital" Vision Board and made it the desktop background on my home computer. That way, I see it regularly and, surprisingly, I have found that I meet or exceed the goals I set.
For example, last year, this was my Vision Board:
I like both concrete and abstract goals. In 2017, I read 69 books; smiled more than I had in years; treated myself to a massage, a relaxing Spring Break, and hired a cleaning service to come to my house once a month; and I attended four writer's retreats. I might have made some strides with my personal brand, but I definitely did not eat more mindfully or save the way I'd hoped. Five out of seven is not bad. It's amazing how regular reminders of what you really want can make a difference.
Here is my Vision Board for 2018:
Because of last year's non-successes, I'm attempting to be a little more "concrete" this year. I want to walk 800 miles this year, continue my goal of 65 books, give up fast food for 6 months (in a row!), save a specific amount of money, finish a young adult novel I've been toying with for years, try something new/scary each month, and downsize my junk. By putting specific parameters on my savings, fitness, and eating goals I think I can be more successful than with my previous more nebulous goals. Some goals should be nebulous (Smile More!) and others, for me, have to be specific. These are the lessons I've learned from my Vision Board-ing.
I have been a victim of my Resolutions in the past. It's probably part of the reason I hate New Year's so much. I've done all the cliches: joined gyms, started new diets, made outrageous promises to myself about the upcoming year. Then, on January 15th when I'm still lying around watching TV and hating myself, I am more disappointed than ever. I have known better for a long time, but I couldn't resist the glamour of the Resolution: a whole new self and life in the blink of an eye. One of the best things I've finally learned from my struggle with depression is that big change takes time. I'm ready to take the time. I've got big goals and I want to make some big changes and it'll take time. More than a year, probably. And I'm ready to take that time, figure things out, and find better ways to be happy, healthy, and alive. Strike that. I'm alive, but I want to be living.