It’s a brand new year, time for black-eyed peas, the Rose Bowl Parade, and new year’s resolutions! Today, the Chicks are ringing out the old and ringing in the new as we talk about our intentions for 2016.
Each year I try to trick myself into some kind of self-improvement program. But I can only take so much failure in that regard (yes, I’m still working on that closet organization, and yes, I’m signing up for online yoga soon). So for 2016 I tried to focus on creating a writing-related “To Do” list instead. Unfortunately, the number of bullet points—especially in the tech department—grew way out of control. I was forced to run the list through the shredder. So now what? I’m going to take my writer friend Christine Carbo’s and Faith Hill’s advice and B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Slow, deep inhale and equally long exhale. Over and over. Yeah, I know, my autonomic nervous system should already have that covered. But sometimes I get so crazy-busy and stressed I think I’m actually holding my breath. I mean, that can’t be good. And we’re talking here about things we know for sure we can do for at least a few days, right? Okay, okay. I’m signing up for that online yoga deal NOW. I swear.
My New Year’s Resolution is a simple one: Stop feeling bad. Stop feeling bad that I didn’t feel like exercising this week. (I’ll exercise next week.) Stop feeling bad that I had that cupcake. (I enjoyed every single calorie.) Stop feeling bad that I’m not Beyonce. (The actual Beyonce is probably not the picture-perfect version in my head either.) Stop feeling bad that I am finally saying no to people who don’t deserve my yes. (Saying yes will only make me feel worse because I’ll feel taken advantage of.) Stop feeling bad there are still dishes in the sink. (This does not affect world peace one iota.) Stop feeling bad I didn’t contact this person or that person. (They didn’t contact me either.) The list goes on and on and on. The other day, my friend Linda shared this piece of advice with me: Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. I’m excited to finally become my best friend in 2016.
There are two things I was thrilled to give up when I reached adulthood: dressing in costume for Halloween, and New Year’s resolutions. For me, resolutions are like saying, “I’m going to get back to what I weighed in my twenties!” Both engender an amount of guilt that’s in inverse proportion to actual results. But this year, I’ve found an attitude that I can turn into a resolution that actually feels achievable. Diane Vallere — my mystery guru, if you haven’t already picked that up from my posts — spent a year saying “yes.” And she survived. When jobs and commitments pile on me, I tend to panic and fear the worst. But this year, I am following the Master’s lead (yeah, the Master is Diane), and just saying yes, and trusting that everything will work out in the way it’s supposed. When I taught kids improvisation, I always told them that “yes!” feels like a smile and “no!” feels like a frown. And physiologically, that’s true. So “yes,” World! And you know what? That does feel like a smile.
At the end of each year, fueled by several days of introspection plus the promise of a fresh slate, I feel a heady surge of optimism that this is the year I will TOTALLY NAIL IT. That usually passes by about January 3, when I downgrade my plans for world domination into more modest intentions to slightly improve. The temptation is strong to just resolve to do things that I know I’m going to do anyway, kind of like when you write something on your to-do list after you’ve already done it just for the satisfaction of checking it off: “I will have a book come out in March! I will turn another year older! I will brush my teeth every single day! Watch out world!” But this year, I’m taking a new approach, one that combines optimism with reason. In 2016, I will keep going. I will keep trying. I will make good choices, but I will also forgive myself when I don’t. I will learn to say no. I will learn to say yes. And maybe, just maybe, this year will be the year I finally teach my cat to make coffee. (He’s polydactyl, so he stands a better chance than most.)
So, readers, what’s your stance? Do you “do” new years resolutions? What are your plans for 2016?
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