While a friend and I were in an Uber from downtown LA to our high school town a few days before the New Years Eve, I asked them what their new year’s resolutions were. “To stay on my current trajectory of what I’ve been doing.” We talked about goal setting, how change happens over time with accumulated and consistent action, and how, for a lot of “new year’s resolutions,” you have to stick with it for much longer than the year that lay ahead.
During the last few days of 2018, I took the time to journal out a personal 2018 recap. I journal almost daily, having reached the final pages of the Moleskine I started in January 2018. I used these final pages to focus on reflecting on the year’s changes and make connections that I may have not be able to as it was happening. I was able to look at a year full of coming back home to myself, meeting new people and reconnecting with others who hadn’t been part of my life in years, and getting comfortable being uncomfortable with spending much more time alone. I approached my 2018 reflection with some of the things I try to practice every day, mindfulness, being in the present, as well as acting from a place of love instead of fear. In beginning 2019, I echo the words of my friend in staying on my current trajectory of what I’ve been doing.
Be as Consistent as Possible
Everything from gaining a skill, cultivating friendships and relationships, and basic life and health maintenance require daily attention. Whether it’s keeping a habit tracker or writing out and revisiting personal goals, being as consistent as possible in my daily actions is what has shaped and will shape change in the long term. For me, I break down big goals by looking at what I can do daily to reach them. In 2019, this includes daily action towards running my first marathon (shout out to the LA Marathon in March) and reading 25 books in 2019 (currently reading Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay and Dune by Frank Herbert).
I say be as consistent as possible because I know I will miss days, but I do not want to fixate over these small blips. I know that there have been and will be days when I will be lazy and not want to run or work out, but I know that running and or working out will condition my body to be able to run 26.2 miles by March. I know there have been and will be times in the evening when I mindlessly scroll through Instagram when I instead could be reading, but I know that I just have to acknowledge that I have the choice to put my phone down and pick up a book instead. I aim to stay focused on what I can do now, what I can do in moving forward, and learning from what I did or didn’t do in the past before letting it go.
Daily Joy and Gratitude
Many of my journal entries include a section where I start with “GRATEFUL FOR TODAY” and then I list anything and everything that falls under this category. This practice has really helped me in finding mini moments of happiness and silver linings throughout the day, as well as help me move forward when I’m mentally stuck or frustrated. When I’ve had off days, and the last thing I want to do is journal about gratefulness, I do it anyway, and find myself, genuinely, in a much better mood and well equipped to move forward
Choice & Action
I believe in choice and action. I have choice agency and control over how I want to live my life and what I want to do in it. The choice and action I do have control over have everything to do with myself, in being self-aware, acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses, integrating anger and pain in the path towards healing, my reactions, my responses, my mindsets.
This is obviously easier said that done, but I do believe that an intention like this is all about cultivate an awareness to practice this with each moment. It’s the small differences and choices that add up.