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New Year: New Me

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I wrote an article here years ago about my struggles with depression. People said it helped. That is why I'm sharing my resolutions.

Happy, Happy!

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Year after Year

I am almost 73 years old. I have seen many years come and go. For every one of those years, I have a list of resolutions. Actually, I mostly write them down and forget them. This year that is going to change. I read something Pope Francis said about gluttony and putting emphasis on material things during the holidays. That affected me. The thing that affected me most was the difference it would make in my life to lose a considerable amount of weight and trek over to my treadmill every day to do at least 20 or 30 minutes of walking -- not brisk, just walking. Those are the surface things and, of course, being successful with them goes back to what goes on in my head and heart. I've always thought of myself as being very disciplined in certain ways. I've worked lots and lots of hours in my lifetime to achieve certain goals. I never regretted any of the time I spent doing it. When it comes to staying physically fit, I am lazy. Becoming mentally fit is where it all begins. Following this is a rather long list of resolutions. If I follow only half of them, I'll be doing fine. If you think they sound even remotely helpful, I suggest you do the same. Life is short. We must not waste it by running at half power.

My After Picture

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Taking Control

This is my picture at the "almost correct" weight. I was still a little overweight, but it didn't show much. Since this one, I have gained 10 pounds. It's time for a change. I'm one of those annoying people who believe we create our own reality. Let me clarify: Not in the way of giving ourselves illnesses and accidents, but in the way of creating happiness and joy or discontent and misery. Here are my resolutions. They have worked for me in the past and will work again, I'm sure. I hope you'll join me.

1. Remember that you are a good and decent person. Don't visit the past when you believe you didn't measure up. No one cares. Literally no one cares or remembers besides you. If they do, they need to stop thinking about it more than you need to stop. Nothing can be changed by reliving miserable moments. They will remain miserable as long as you visit them. If you stop, one day you will forget altogether.

2. In addition to not visiting past mess-ups, stay out of the future. It literally does not exist, so ask yourself how pointless visiting there is! The more you worry and fret, the more likely you are to bring the things you worry about to your own doorstep or that of the loved ones you worry about. Read some nuclear physics, the part about quarks. We attract what we are. Don't be a worrywart.

3. Don't take people seriously. I am dead serious! (I know, I know.) Getting offended or hurt or aggravated is a waste of energy unless it's big-time stuff. For instance: not getting a thank you card for a wedding gift is not big-time stuff. Being slapped across the face is pretty big-time in my book. Do you see the difference? Learn to differentiate, people. When you learn to differentiate, you will realize you have very few big-time issues. A friend who is in her 80s told me she always gives it a day or so before she reacts to something that has offended her. She says the older she gets, the more likely it is that she will no longer even remember what it was the next day.

4. Learn to say the word "no," N-O. No, I can't; No, I don't want to; No, I don't believe so; No, I'm busy. Hell, no! Get it? I hear people complain so often that they are doing something they don't want to do. Stop being a damn fool and say "No!" It's like Nancy Reagan: "Just say no."

5. Do not drink more than one drink of an alcoholic beverage in public. I can only have one drink and if I can't, neither can you! No, seriously, my AFib doctor set that limit and when I began stopping at one drink, I learned how absolutely insane people act when they drink too much. Other people who are watching cannot unhear, unsee it. Don't give them a scene to remember. A friend had me record some nonsense she was spouting one night when she had had a few too many. She was absolutely horrified when she saw the recording. We think we are clever and witty and entertaining when we drink. Mostly we are gross and embarrassing.

6. Eat healthy and Exercise. This is my biggest challenge. What has worked for me in the past is fruit. When I've lost weight before, I ate copious quantities of fruit. I hate to hear people talk about "eating clean." It always sounds so sanctimonious, pretentious and new worldly! Just don't eat processed food. Eat lots of vegetables without cheese sauces and butter, etc. Mrs. Dash tastes okay to me as a seasoning. You'll find something you like. Try to stick to fish and chicken and treat yourself to a hamburger or steak every couple of weeks. Remember, when you want something sweet: Fruit! Also, take a multivitamin every day. And drink water, all the water you can tolerate. It is not only a healthy habit, but it keeps you from getting hungry between meals.

By the way, I'll do this one as an add-on: If you have aches and pains, try to take as few meds as possible. I think this is important enough to have a separate number, but I'm lazy. Limit the medicines you take to what you absolutely need. Mild pain can be ignored. "Why?" you ask. Read the side effects on every drug you take. That should be enough said.

Get some exercise every day. I have been doing 14 minutes on the stationary bike every day for a while and I plan to add five minutes tomorrow. Before I began exercising, cleaning house or shopping were exhausting. I have more endurance since I began exercising.

Walk outside, walk at the mall, ride a bike, ride a skateboard, walk in place in front of your TV, swim at an indoor pool, do something every day that gets your heart beating faster. The doctor I see for my AFib (atrial filbrillation) once said and I quote, "I can't understand people who risk dying because they won't get up and exercise 20 minutes a day." He is a bit of an ass and very pompous, but he makes a good point!

7. Be very careful about what you feed your subconscious. I stopped watching a television series which involved violent crimes when I realized it was causing me to have nightmares. I also abandoned Discovery ID for the same reason. With books, if I realize a book is getting to me, I stop reading. All these things are feeding our subconscious. Just like "eating clean" and feeding our bodies clean food, we need to feed our minds clean material also.

8. This is a new one for me but I read it in a book of Mr. Rogers' quotes and it stuck: Love is accepting another person exactly the way they are and loving them anyway. Think about the enormity of that statement. Both my husband and I work at home. I plan to remember this from now on and stop trying to change the things about him that irritate me. I'm sure he has his own list of my annoying habits. Perhaps the ideal situation would be that we work on ourselves and not each other!

9. Take time every day of your life for at least ten minutes of quiet and more, if possible. Meditation has been a huge benefit for me. You can find hundreds of meditations online or just play your own music and meditate. I am getting better at quieting my mind. If you don't want to take it to that level, just find a quiet space (without your phone) and sit still and think of all the things you are grateful for. If you can't think of anything, try indoor plumbing.

10. There are so many things today that seem out of our control. There is a great divide in the country right now and unrest around the world. My son lives in the UK and he tells me we are definitely not the only country with problems. We should all be concerned. We should all try to help the causes we believe in financially, even if we can only afford a tiny amount. After that, the biggest contribution you can make is to be happy and love your life. Don't dwell with anger or sadness on all the problems of the world. It is difficult to let your light shine when you are weighed down with anxiety and worry about global or national affairs. Be grateful to Spirit, whatever Spirit is for you. Spirituality adds another dimension to your life, another place to find comfort and give love. Take time to express your gratitude to that same Spirit. Pray for everyone, including yourself. We must all remember: We are the light of the world.

When you look at all these resolutions, can you tell me that your life would not improve by at least 25 percent if you actively practiced them? Isn't 25 percent worth working for? I plan to find out. Life is short. I must outlive my cat because I don't know who would want an obese, pigeon-toed calico, especially when she's already stubborn and will soon be old. Join me and let's live long and happily!

Happy New Year!

Living for Lucy

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