I am not a big proponent of New Year’s resolutions but this year I have a few “suggestions” for personal growth or improvement.
The difference is that these are not set in stone, so I don’t beat myself up or feel like a failure when, by mid-February, I’ve made no progress on any of them. This year, my New Year’s suggestions are:
1. QUIT MY GYM MEMBERSHIP. Yes, you read that correctly. I know it sounds counterintuitive but here’s the rationale. I joined a local gym in Killeen soon after we moved here, more than two years ago. At first, I used it frequently and even hired a personal trainer for a while (whom I adored but ultimately, couldn’t afford). I’ve since realized that I am no longer a gym person.
The older I get, the more I realize I don’t particularly care for gyms. They tend to be dark and often smelly and crowded. I don’t feel inspired by gyms like I once did and find I can exercise quite well on my own, between walking the dog, using our “home gym” and practicing yoga.
I can count on one hand the number of times I visited the gym in the past three months, and those were only for a yoga class. It is time to stop paying for a service I’m no longer using.
2. CONTEMPLATE LEAVING FACEBOOK. This is a tough one for me. I have grown very fond of Facebook, mainly because it is a wonderful way to keep up with friends and family. However, it is becoming a huge time-suck in my life. I find myself checking it out of boredom. What happens is, 15 minutes or a half hour will slip by and with it, my motivation to do what I had originally planned to do.
What’s more, I’m often left feeling vaguely discontent about my lot. Seeing photos of people traipsing around Europe, basking on the beach, or even just out to dinner with their husbands (yes, I’m tired of mine being gone), can trigger the “No Fair” switch, leaving me cranky and ungrateful for what I DO have.
This is not the fault of my friends posting these comments or photos, mind you. I am just too susceptible to the green-eyed monster right now to handle the ensuing emotions.
On the other hand, not having Facebook frightens me ... which is probably a good reason to evaluate my reasons for staying on it. Bottom line: I will give this some more thought and hopefully make an informed decision soon. (By the way, my sister-in-law recently ended her Facebook subscription due to tiring of a spate of negativity and drama. She told me she does not regret it and feels happier as a result.)
3. EAT MORE. OK, this sounds really wacky, considering we are in the prime month of dieting and weight loss. My goal, however, is to incorporate a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and grains in my diet, as well as the boys’. Although I eat fairly healthfully — with some glaring exceptions, such as the addictive chocolate-drizzled popcorn that is darn close to being the nectar of the gods — I find myself shopping for the same foods each week at the commissary. Enough of this rut. I’ve been perusing recipes and recently saw one for teriyaki salmon that calls for bok choy, which I’ve rarely if ever purchased. Same goes for chard. And why do I rarely bring home eggplant?
I attribute this more to laziness than to a lack of adventure. The nutrition experts encourage us to eat a rainbow of colorful produce and to introduce our kids to new items on a regular basis. (Sadly, I have fallen into the peas/beans/broccoli/corn trap with mine). It’s time to widen our horizons!
4. GET MORE CREATIVE. Christmas reminded me that homemade gifts can be the very best. I was given two memorable homemade gifts this season—a beautiful, loosely knitted “infinity” scarf from my neighbor, and a fleece blanket from my sister-in-law. Although I appreciate any and all thoughtful gifts, the handmade ones struck me as particularly special because of the obvious time and effort that went into planning and making them. They inspired me to try to come up with a trademark item that I can fashion with my own two hands. I’ve never been naturally “crafty,” so this is tougher than it may seem. Some slightly unconventional ideas off the top of my head include writing special keepsake letters to the people I love, or, giving friends one-on-one yoga sessions with yours truly. The point is, using one’s individual talents to make a gift is not only a beautiful gesture but often more satisfying and economical for the giver, too.
Whether you are a New Year’s resolution maker or not, I hope this first week of 2015 has inspired you to see things in a fresh way and possibly make some positive changes in your own life.
Gail Dillon, an Army spouse, journalist and Air Force veteran, lives at Fort Hood with her husband, two sons and a Goldendoodle.