April Moments

Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself

Swapping out annual resolutions for daily revisions

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve received a flurry of emails with the subject “New Year, New You!” or something similar. I wish I would’ve kept them all, so I could tell you exactly how many flooded my inbox.

But I didn’t keep them. Because the whole “New Year, New You” gimmick is junk. It’s a ploy. A campaign to convince us that we need to buy things – books, heart rate monitors, storage containers, organizational systems or do-hickeys or whatever organized people use. Just what we all need right after Christmas – more stuff, more tasks to complete.

Now, I hear all my goal-oriented, life-evaluating friends saying, “But April, change is good. It’s a great practice to examine your health, wealth, habits and work.”

Yes, I agree. I just find the huge push in January to be annoying. I’m not saying long-term goals are bad; my husband and I have some for our family and our finances. However, as a deadline-driven procrastinator, I prefer short-term goals. Much more attainable.

For example, every week night when I go to bed, I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. and promise myself to get out of that very warm, cozy bed when that very loud, startling alarm sounds. When I do that, check one. Then, I tell myself to get ready and drive to the gym. When that’s complete, check two. Then, since I’m at the gym, I convince myself to get on that darn Spin bike and work out. For an hour. With a lady yelling things like, “Keep your cadence!” and “Challenge yourself!” As you can imagine, when the lady stops yelling and says, “Slow your pace and get off the bike,” I give myself a huge, figurative pat on the back.

I promise you – it is a mental battle EVERY SINGLE MORNING. But small achievements equal eventual progress. I can’t focus on the long-term mentality too much or I will crumble. And drown.

And why do the companies that send the aforementioned emails think I need be new? What is physically wrong with me as I am? Well, ahem, stupid companies that are trying to fool me with marketing scams, NOTHING. Nothing is wrong with me. It’s taken me 30-ish years to get to this point, so stop trying to convince me that I need to be new, just because it’s January.

Change is good. Change can be great, even. But if we are re-evaluating ourselves only in January, then we will probably never really make important changes.

I feel as though I am working to improve myself daily. I’m making revisions every day. It’s very much like writing in that way. Sometimes I write a blog or a story and when I get to the editing phase, I add some things to improve the piece. I also take away other things are that not working or are not contributing effectively to the message of the story.

Life is the same. Add a little and take away some. Do both.

And when I’m writing, there comes a point when I have to call a story finished. If I go back and keep editing, editing, editing, I will drive myself crazy.

Life is the same. Meet a goal. Make a new one. They can be small. Remember small steps will eventually get us to where we want to be.

And as a writer, inevitably, there are many, many stories that I begin and never finish. Or never post publicly. That is OK too.

Life is the same. Not every goal will be met. Let it go. Find one that works.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I did not make any New Year’s resolutions this year. Lucky for me, we’re about a third of the way through January now, so the “New Year, New You!” emails should be stopping.

Originally published on ovparent.com.

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