One of my very favorite authors, Michelle Richmond, posted a blog entry about her take on New Year’s Resolutions, and it sounded like a great idea to me.
A couple of things to note. First, her resolutions are only for January. No expectations for changing her life forever. However, she does hope some habits form after thirty days of discipline.
Second, she limits her not-resolutions to six: two things to give up, two things to keep, and two things to add.
Here’s what I’ve come up with for me:
Things to Give Up: Physical Spending
I stole this one directly from Michelle. For January, I will not buy stuff. Instead, I’ll use up what I have and make do. I don’t need any new clothes or shoes or kitchen gadgets or even … gasp! … books. Of course I’ll still buy groceries, but nothing that needs to be stored or dusted.
Actually, I’ve already broken this one. I bought a book today, but I bought it on Kindle, so I’m telling myself it doesn’t count. And I don’t want to go all legalistic anyway. But I do want to consume less. A lot less.
Things to Give Up: Games on my phone/iPad
I get bored easily, and I’ve developed the habit of entertaining myself with games any time I have a break. Waiting for a meeting to start, waking in the morning with a cup of tea, going to the bathroom … whenever. Not this month.
I expected to hate this one, but I’ve been surprised to realized I don’t miss the games at all. I catch myself reaching for the phone out of habit, but I stop myself. It’s only been a few days, of course, but this appears to be making an enormous difference. I’m reading more, and I’ve lost that sense of frenzy, the feeling of going frenetically from task to task without ever losing the burden of all the things yet undone. Ironically (but not surprisingly), I’m actually getting more done.
I am making one exception: I can still play Pokemon Go if I am walking outside or on our Date Night.
This change I hope to keep.
Things to Keep: Bullet Journal
Someone in one of my ADHD groups suggested I try a Bullet Journal, and I’ve been using it since June. It is, hands down, THE most effective productivity tool I’ve ever tried. This one I intend to keep for good.
I use a physical, hardbound journal and write with a fountain pen (usually). It’s deeply satisfying, but mostly it keeps me focused on my priorities.
Michelle listed this one too. Yet another reason to adore her.
Things to Keep: Co-writing on Zoom
In my ADHD group, we call this “body doubling,” and it’s also a productivity tool. The short version is that I work better when I’m working alongside someone else. We don’t have to be working on the same thing, and it turns out we don’t even have to be in the same geographical place. If I know someone else is working in tandem with me, my easily distracted brain stays focused.
I’ve tried this with a couple of groups, but they always fell apart after a bit. Then I attended a memoir workshop with Allison K. Williams and learned she does zoom coworking Mondays and Wednesdays. And Myriam Steinberg hosts writers coworking Tuesdays and Thursdays. These two writers have a pretty dedicated following, so I have hopes these co-working groups won’t collapse.
Things to Add: Take a Class
This was also something Michelle Richmond suggested. I will be taking Rebirth Your Book, an intensive virtual writing retreat with Allison K. Williams later in the month. I intend to work on my memoir.
Things to Add: Whole30
I’m a big fan of Whole30. It’s an eating plan that serves as a reset for your body. For one month, you cut out all foods that can cause illness and body issues. The food you eat is super yummy—fresh meat, lots of veggies, fruit. But everything is made from scratch (there is a small amount of wiggle room, but not much, and it should be used sparingly).
A lot of foods people love are not allowed, but it’s only for one month. Things like grains (including all bread and pasta), all dairy products, all added sweeteners except fruit, most legumes (including dried beans, peanuts, and soy products), and sulfites.
Whole30 takes a bit of getting used to, and lots of prep time. My husband calls it the “Chop-Chop-Chop, Chomp-Chomp-Chomp” diet. But like I said, it’s only for thirty days. You keep track of what you eat and how you feel. You’re not supposed to weigh yourself during the month (it’s not a weight-loss diet anyway, though most people do lose weight), but you note non-weight-related benefits like better sleep, more energy, etc.
At the end of the month, you start adding things back in, one at a time, noting how you feel. And you decide for yourself how to eat long-term, based on how your own body responds to food.
Mars and I started eating Whole30 in August 2020, and we sorta never stopped. We were really happy with what we were eating and how we felt, so we didn’t add much back. But over the holidays, we ate a lot of goodies: cookies and pie and bread with Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, etc. So we’re going to do a month of Whole30.
A month, more or less. I wasn’t about to waste the goodies we had leftover from New Years, so we will run Whole30 through Valentine’s Day.
Then we’ll add a few things back in and see how our bodies respond. I miss cheese and yogurt, for instance, so I’m hoping I can keep those. But first, I need to do the reset. Some things, like sweeteners, I know I won’t add back to my diet.
So…that’s my plan. I’m only committing to one month, so this should be doable. Mostly.