What I’m Leaving, What I’m Bringing

I’m Incapable of Changing Simply Because I Say I Will

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Blick- Iowa City

Last year was the only year I made a resolution. I resolved to wake at 5:00 AM Monday- Friday to entertain the idea that I could possibly be more productive if I began my work day before the sun. What I discovered is both sides of a coin.

I was more productive in the dark hours of the morning before alarm clocks went off and chaos began, when it was only me and I could sit and think in the silence of my own space. It also allowed for more breaks during the day which rejuvenated my creativity.

It wasn’t all positive though. Waking at 5:00 AM sucks and I despised doing it. I physically grumbled and I was emotionally pissy. It wasn’t long into the new year before I was drinking five cups of coffee instead of one. By mid-October I resolved to just get through the final ten weeks so I was able to say, I did it! and on December 31st I would quit entirely.

Unfortunately the human body doesn’t do things just because you tell it to. It would be months into my resolution before I was capable of rising before the sun opposed to ‘dragging my ass out of bed.’ By November I found it near impossible to sleep past 4:00 AM and here I am, seven days into a new year, up at 3:30 AM on Sunday morning starring at the bottom of my second cup of coffee.

While I was working toward my PhD in Advanced Behavioral Science I learned the most valuable tool in communication that I could apply to every day life as well as myself.

Never ask why.

When you ask why you allow for too many options while never receiving a solid answer. You need to be specific. How does that make you feel? What do you think you could do differently?

Why do I fail? doesn’t come with an answer beyond, because I suck. How do I define success? can be answered with a specific measurement of reasoning.

I live by the standard of applying myself to be a better person today than I was yesterday. Some days I kick ass at it and some days I nap so I don’t have to deal with my fuck-ups or face my mistakes. Regardless of which type of day I’m having I’m often left wondering, is my contribution to the world creating a positive impact?

This year I resolve to do things differently. This year I resolve to leave behind what I disliked (what I have control over, anyway) in 2017 and instead bring what worked well into 2018 to aid in reaching my goals.

What I resolve to leave behind-

Wasting endless hours scrolling through feeds on the internet. I spent 45 minutes on Instagram when I was laying in bed last night. I gained nothing from it, nor do I gain anything from scrolling through Facebook’s feed other than the knowledge of what you had for lunch, when you took a shower and a lack of understanding of misinformed, misguided and mostly angry opinions. I need to stop viewing social media as something other than a tool for marketing.

Introverted habits such as but not limited to- I need to get the fuck out of my house. I have a tendency to cut myself off, tell myself tomorrow will be different and then follow through with nothing. I haven’t gained nor contributed anything by doing this other than leaving myself to my own devices. This most always consists of emotionally eating and buying far too many books.

If I could refer to this as a habit I would but it’s more so a personality trait. I lose time. I have absolutely no concept of time. I live in this bottomless, black hole of existence and although I’m capable and do complete a great deal of tasks each day I tend to drift off to a place where I accomplish nothing I needed to. Before I know it I’m stuck in a pattern of repeating myself, usually with the words, Oh shit! It’s already time for dinner?

What I resolve to bring-

One area I’m heavily skilled in is compulsively and impulsively buying books, more books than I could possibly read. While a goal I’ve set for myself this year is not to purchase a single book (which will prove impossible and I’ll fail) I do intend to utilize this skill and read all the books I brought into my life last year.

I love learning. I’m obsessed, actually. I genuinely believe it’s why I find my husband so stimulating. We share little similarities and I feel I’m consistently learning new things from him on a daily basis. I need stimulation to thrive. In 2018 I bring with me my ability to absorb knowledge by making lists of new things I want to learn (and researching them) and studying something I already love more in depth.

I consider myself to be culturally well rounded. Culture is my top inspiration. A large part of that is travel. Two things that hinder me from exploring more are depression and finances. I do most of my traveling via the New York Times Travel Section. In 2016 I purchased the Sukie Travel Journal. It’s bad-ass. It has blank pages for notes and envelopes to collect literature from each trip. I have yet to write a word in this journal.

Being a writer, artist and parent I have little funds for travel but what I often fail to remember is I have the entire state of Iowa to explore by taking day trips. This year I bring my desire to travel and set the goal to fill every page in my Travel Journal. This will also aid in my quest to get the fuck out of my house.

In conclusion- Is it really as simple as leaving dislikes behind and utilizing likes to develop better habits and traits? I don’t know. I’m unsure of anything other than the fact that waking before 5:00 AM every day blows and I can’t change over night merely because I said I want to. No one can. We’re just not designed to work that way.

I can only assume a year from now I’ll have more detailed information on how effective leaving behind bad and bringing along the good will be.

Support my writing and together I can reach my goals. Every $1 adds up.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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