I think it was Cara that said she had New Year's "intentions" and that one of her intentions was to eat better and exercise more, not because she was particularly concerned about her appearance but because she wanted to be nice to herself and take good care of her body.
I've been thinking about that a lot. I have any number of bad habits - smoking, not exercising, a deep and abiding love of bacon, drinking rather more beer than I should, etc. I often chastise myself at this time of the year because this year should be the year that I eat virtuous home-cooked meals, get eight hours of sleep a night, exercise four times a week, etc. In short, I should become a completely different person. Immediately.
At the risk of sounding like a huge hippie, I don't feel like this comes from a very good place. That kind of resolve comes from a very self-critical, unhappy place - like I need to make these changes RIGHT NOW because otherwise I'm a bad, lazy, self-indulgent person.
I think change will happen more organically and more lastingly if it comes from a place of loving and valuing oneself and wanting to do things that make you feel happy and healthy and strong. In that spirit, I think this year's theme will simply be learning to be nice to myself. How to be nice to yourself will obviously vary from person to person.
For me, that might entail:
- Alotting more time for knitting. I love knitting. Why on earth wouldn't I spend more time knitting?
- Cooking more meals at home. I work a more-than-full-time job, plus I'm going to school part-time, so at the end of the day, I usually don't want to cook myself something nice. However, when I do, I'm always happy I did it. I will try to remember how good that feels, and I will recognize that some nights are just takeout nights. That's how it's gonna be.
- Reading more, and writing more about what I've read. For my Young Adult Literature class, we had to keep a reading journal of the fifteen novels we chose to read, and I loved the way that pushed me to read alertly and think clearly and critically about what I was reading. If I want to be a librarian, being able to write articulately and persuasively about books is a damn good skill to have.
- Quitting smoking. Not today, not tomorrow, but for the first time since I started smoking (a truly shocking number of years ago), I've been thinking I don't want to do this anymore. I'm getting towards ready.
- Being more involved in the knitting community, both "in real life" and in the blogosphere. There's a Stitch 'n Bitch starting up, hopefully next week, in my neighborhood on Wednesday nights. I plan to join.
I may not be able to do all of it, but that's why these are intentions, not resolutions. And who can't get behind an intention to be nice to yourself?