I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. As a teacher, I’ve always considered the school year the beginning and ending of life, with the summer as a buffer zone.
Every August, I would sit down and think about the ways I wanted the upcoming school year to go. I yearly focused on having one family meal each week, another year, I organized my dinner plans in a rotating schedule…Monday–pasta, Tuesday–tacos…I usually worked to organize my brain around making my home and family life sane. While working as a full-time teacher with three kids, life was full…busy…chaotic.I did however use the New Year as the beginning of my diet and exercise routine. You see at the beginning of every school year, I would begin by bringing my own lunch. Then as September slipped into October, I would begin to fade in my commitment to healthy lunches. This resulted in dubbing my eating habits as “the red tray diet”. Our school had sectioned red trays for lunch service. I would fill up the tray and was a member of the clean plate club. this would quickly lead to a 15-pound weight gain by the time the holidays were over. So, throughout my 40s, I would knuckle down and renew my commitment to healthy lunches and daily early morning exercise. Week by week, I would drop the weight–about one pound a week until I could fit into my clothes comfortably again.
This routine worked for me for the longest time. The last time I did this was when I turned 50 on December 19 (conveniently positioned just before New Years). I even committed to and began training to run a marathon. Which I successfully completed! I am definitely in the minority of people who follow through on commitments made in this season.
Unfortunately, the next four years, my last years of teaching, my weight slowly crept up–even without the red tray diet and WITH regular daily exercise. There is something about your 50s (menopause perhaps) when all bets are off regarding the simple equation of:
life + exercise – extra food = healthy body
And this is where I am now. This year, my New Year’s resolution is more of a recommitment. I am continuing to prioritize my self-care with a focus on tweaking my daily morning routine.
Now that I’m not working in the classroom, or teaching my own children at home due to Covid, I have the time to pursue my new career(s). I am in the process of becoming a certified Life Coach and creating podcasts. As I move toward these new adventures, I want to create my life, time, priorities, and schedule that looks the best of what made me successful as an educator and incorporate them into my new life. On the other side of the coin, I want to steer clear of those activities that have made me feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
I’ve lengthened my morning walk with the dogs and turned that into the time that I listen to podcasts. Immediately when I get home, I do a few exercises paired with a meditation practice or yoga. I take a shower, get ready for the day, and then coffee with some journaling. Breakfast is late and then move into the day.
I drink lots of water. Vegetables are my friends.
In 2022, I will reach out to my human friends more often.
I’m not expecting or attempting to achieve any sort of perfection, since that really doesn’t apply, nor is it the point.
The thing I love about beginnings–a new day, new week, month, school term, or new year–is the optimism and the confidence that change is possible.