Resetting for the new year

I am a night owl still trying to be an early bird. Lately, though, I haven’t been trying hard at all. 

Over the Christmas holidays I allowed myself to stay up late and sleep in more. Because I was sleeping in more I was exercising less, and because I was exercising less I started eating crap again. A couple weeks of that and I’m now geared up for a self-imposed intervention.

Feeling crummy is not unfamiliar territory to me. I’ve written a few times about my long struggling battle of the bulge and how directly related the food I eat affects the way I feel. What may be unfamiliar is the potentially speedier recovery from my fall off the proverbial wagon.

“You’re skinny,” my friend said when she learned of my junk food relapse. “You should allow yourself the occasional treat.”

First of all, I’ve only ever been skinny once and that was 15 years ago and only lasted about four days, but thank you.

Secondly, an occasional cupcake will do to me what an occasional hit of heroine will do to a druggie. I’d really rather not spend the year ahead jonesing for junk food like so many years past.

So how do I jump back on the wagon and reverse my last two weeks of destruction? By waking up early for starters.

“The early bird gets the worm,” my dad used to say when I was a sleepy-head teen. Fine with me, I’d think to myself, it can have the worm.

Eventually I took him less literally and gave his early morning strategy a try.

Initially I disliked exercising before the sun was up, but after awhile I found that if I didn’t get it over with right away, I wouldn’t do it at all. I also discovered that once I went to the trouble of working up a sweat at the start of my day, I’d be more likely to eat healthy and get to bed at a decent hour later on.

My plan now is to return to that great habit for at least two weeks to put myself back where I was and feeling good again.

If it sounds like I’m embarking on a new years resolution, that’s okay. I am.

I’ve always liked the fresh start of a new year, a new month or a new week to make goals for myself.  And I’m experienced enough at failing miserably that I won’t abandon my resolutions for long periods of time anymore. I now cut myself some slack and keep trying until I finally find some success with whatever it is I’m attempting to achieve.

Of course, rising with the sun isn’t the only solution. It’s doing what works for us as individuals and our willingness to persist that makes the difference.

My dad was right about the early bird getting the worm, but there’s another equally correct saying about how it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Personally, if I had to choose between a worm or cheese, I’d eat the latter. But I’d better compare their calorie counts before deciding for sure.

Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com

 

A fresh start to a new year

Staring at a blank page before typing the first word for my column this week reminded me of what I love about New Years: a clean slate and a fresh start.

Okay, so the slate of life can’t be completely clean when we begin a new year, I know that. But it can be tidied up so the fresh start is stronger.

That’s where the beauty of resolution lists come in.  They help un-clutter our minds from all the things we want to do and organize them accordingly. Yet this is where ugliness can also occur when we fail with our lists, even those with only one thing on it.

I just filmed a parody about New Years resolutions where I dole out silly advice on how to keep them, but ironically, I take this time of year very seriously. My addiction to setting goals and trying to improve has me doing what most people want to do: get rid of my bad addictions and habits that are holding me back. But what’s going to happen if I don’t?

Our propensity as a society is to grumble about the pressures of New Years resolutions and surrender to the belief that we usually fail so why bother with them at all. Of course the alternative to that is to remember that it’s not perfection that delivers our dreams, it’s persistence.

So you’ve started smoking again or you’ve gone off your diet already – so what? Falling off the wagon is just part of life. Get up, dust yourself off and jump back on again.

Can you tell I’m writing this article more for me than for you? I should paint “Get back on the wagon” with a few exclamation marks on my wall to remind myself just how important that is.

Last spring I had the word “perseverance” tattooed on my forearm. I look at it often and it reminds me to keep going and stay the course. It also reminds me to pick a nicer font with a thinner needle and double check the spelling the next time I decide to mark my body with permanent ink.

2011 was a tough year for a lot of people I know, myself included. That old saying that we learn more from our failures than our successes has me believing I’m far wiser than I once was. But I’m ready to learn less and succeed more in the year 2012 and I wish that for all of you as well.

The other thing I was sadly reminded of this past year is how precious life is and how short it can be  – another reason not to beat ourselves up for failing to be perfect.

A quote I have displayed in my office says this: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Add in there: “and have fun while you do” and it’s the perfect quote.

Happy New Year and good luck with whatever goals you set and remember that our fresh starts can start at any moment we choose. As long as we’re living, there are no limits to how many times we can re-set our fresh start button.

To watch my parody on resolutions please visit LoriWelbourne.com to watch the video.