I’m trying something new this year. Well, multiple new things, really. In looking at my schedule, taking on all 27 or so of my proposed resolutions at once just isn’t going to happen. For one thing, I have zero free time until the end of February, when I present my undergraduate thesis (further freakouts regarding the state of this ginormous project will be forthcoming, I’m sure). For another, trying to implement a billion new pieces of a routine simultaneously just doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. It’s like carrying an armful of cats. You want to hold onto all of them, but one or two are bound to wriggle out and go scampering off somewhere. And you end up with a lot of claw marks from the ones that are left.
So my theory is that gradually adding clusters of new habits every two weeks or so might be easier to manage, particularly since my schedule is already going to drastically change about halfway through the semester. My loose idea for this organizational tactic is as follows:
The daily changes I want to make right away – drink a full water bottle daily; get outside once a day; journal every evening; read for pleasure; write literally anything, even just a sentence, for my own personal manuscript
The stuff that will be easier to start when I get back to school and therefore has been pushed back until then – cut out mindless snacking; don’t skip Zumba classes; set up a real workspace instead of just sitting on the couch with Netflix on in the background; do homework the day it is assigned; incorporate daily Bible readings into my new semester routine; block out specific times to work on my thesis; don’t forget about meals
The bigger picture things that will undoubtedly nag at the back of my mind but that I physically cannot spend time on until my thesis is done – start applying for post-grad jobs; devote an hour minimum each day to my own manuscript; get certified as a Zumba instructor; seek out freelance editorial and authorial work, even unpaid internships; focus on online professional development
Honestly, I haven’t really dared to think this far ahead. But if I’m still not skipping Zumba and I’m eating healthy and staying hydrated and working on my manuscript and feel like I’ve got my job situation sort of under control for the moment, then I’ll probably focus on my general theme for the year: be present.
I’ve fallen down many a stress spiral before, particularly this past semester, and these are frequently brought on by focusing too hard on the future. I will never be completely happy-go-lucky or loosey-goosey with my schedule (I love my planner too much!) nor do I think that thinking about and planning for the future is a bad thing. But when it makes me forget about how happy I am in the moment with the Engineer or how much I’m enjoying this particular sentence in my book or how great this writing session is going, it does become a problem.
And, as stressful as it may be at times, I really am looking forward to the year ahead, so I want to hold onto that and appreciate where I am in the life I’m building for myself.