Sunday, January 22, 2017

January Changes

I began 2017 with some new changes – some planned, some I fell into out of necessity. But I wanted them to be small. January is a cold dark month, and small is the only way I can get through it.

So, a few of them…

I started a couple small body-health related goals.
a.     Eating and tracking breakfast
b.    Walking a short (5k) route 3x/week

These are both really important to my body for a number of reasons. 1, they’re small and achievable. I so often set myself up for failure by asking too much, too soon. I am tryng to exceptionally mindful of that.  Which is just breakfast. Which is why a short-for-me route. Which is why just 3 days.

It's not Blue Dots. It’s not a 10k. It’s not even running, unless I feel like it. But it’s more than I was doing. It’s successfully more than I was doing. And that’s something.

I started a morning ritual.
a.     15 minutes-ish of reading and journaling
b.    Writing a To-Do list

These both have served the purpose of grounding my thoughts for the day. The journaling helps to center my emotions, to channel my thoughts’ squirrely nature into a straighter line. It calms me and lets me start the day on a positive foot. It’s like meditation, I suppose, in that it helps me to breathe out the negative that has already crowded in and to keep centered on the good.

In a way, the To-Do list does the same thing. That’s less glamourous, but it helps me to, at the start of the day, make a list of things I would realistically like to get done that day. I don’t really have an expectation that I’ll finish them all, and I’m not upset if I don’t. But it helps me to not feel like I’m always behind, always have too much to do than my day will hold.

I removed Facebook and Twitter from my phone.

This was for my sanity. I’d gotten too involved, too invested… too crazed.  I need some space from it. It’s not gone completely --  if I really need it, I can access it through my web browser – and I could do more at home to control my exposure. But I’m not getting notifications on my phone anymore, outside Messenger, and that has made it a little easier to be less married to it. I am learning to engage with my surroundings again, I suppose.

The last is a personal approach to life and relationships.

In December, I was sharing with a friend about a different friendship where I felt frustration over a power imbalance. How I kept waiting for the other person to be willing to change that. The friend I was speaking to paused in thought and then said, “I’m not sure that’s how it works. I think maybe that’s something you choose to change.”

This, combined with a lesson in our DBT class on positive reinforcement, made me think deeply about how I’ve given my own power/self-respect away by not being willing to stand up for myself. And if I wanted that to change, I needed to stop reinforcing situations where I felt less-than with my acceptance. That if I wanted more, I needed to re-establish the expectation that I could expect more, no longer giving away a free pass.

I’m not sure that’s a good explanation of it… but I feel positive.

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