It’s the middle of February and I am not feeling my original 2021 OLW. Let’s change it.
At the the end of 2020, I had picked what I thought was the perfect one little word (OLW) moving into the new, hopeful year of 2021 – maintenance. Despite the chaotic and unexpected year that was 2020, I worked hard to create healthy and suitable habits in many aspects of my life regarding physical, emotional, and financial health.
In January 2021, maintenance sounded like a great goal to have! Of course I wanted to keep exercising 5x/week and read everyday, because my biggest personal accomplishments in 2020 were a direct result of those habits. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t feel possible or sustainable at all right now to maintain these habits, at that’s okay. Because the fact of the matter is I’m not working out 5x/week, not even 3x/week, because I don’t have the motivation or desire to do so. What I want to do for myself and my mental health is run outside. But that’s also exactly the thing I am not willing to do in the middle of February when the average temp is mid to low 30s. So what’s the deal? Am I unmotivated? Lazy? No, I don’t think so. It’s just not the right time. I had the best of intentions for myself, but my lack of progress signals to me, this isn’t working. And instead of being upset with myself or engaging in negative self talk, I can just change my word. Simple as that.
That brings me right now, February 14th, 2021, at the time I’m writing. Yes, Valentine’s Day. I found myself standing in Kroger, waiting to order a Starbucks drink and sandwich [because #treatyoself] and as I looked around at all the people buying bouquets and chocolates, it hit me. I’d lost touch with reality. On the surface I knew it was Valentine’s Day; I’d seen the advertisements. The romance book recommendations. The cute red and pink heart decorations at work. Even enjoyed the heart shaped donut Kyle brought home from Dunkin’ for me the day before. But it wasn’t until I was standing in the grocery store that I realized I hadn’t made a single effort or attempt to celebrate or acknowledge the holiday.
From there, my mind began to spiral. Christmas effectively came and went with little to no lasting impression. No stockings. No wrapped presents. No family gatherings. And yes, obviously this was due to the pandemic. All to say this reminded me of the promise I made to myself that 2021 would be different. I’d be more present, despite how depressed I felt or how chaotic work became. No matter the excuses I made for myself. Then a new word hit me like a ton of bricks.
1: thing intended; an aim or plan
2: what one intends to do or bring about
3: a determination to act in a certain way, resolve
1: done on purpose; deliberate
2: done by intention or design, intended
What a cliché OLW, I know. But it feels right.
Here’s the ways in which I hope to be more deliberate moving forward in the year 2021, guided by my new OLWs, intention and/or intentional.
Last year, I fell into the habit of sitting on the couch with my laptop, purely due to comfort. Less time sitting at my desk resulted in less journaling, less time spent being creative, and my desk became cluttered, unruly, and unmanageable. Definitely not a sight for sore eyes.
1 | sit at my desk to check emails, write blog posts, journal, engage in creativity
Similarly, Kyle and I fell into the habit of eating meals on the couch as our schedules got crazier and crazier as the year progressed. We used to set up the dinner table and enjoy dinner together, sometimes with candlelight, and I want to get back to that.
2 | eat more meals with Kyle at our dining room table
I had some initial success with working out at home when all the gyms closed, then really fell into a routine running outside which gave me such mental clarity and emotional stability in what would prove to be the hardest year of my life professionally. But anymore, my desire and motivation to exercise in the home is non-existent, even for a 20 minute work out.
3 | return to the gym (when safe to do so), walk and run outside when the weather allows
“A place for everything, everything in its place.”
— Benjamin Franklin
I have dozens of ideas in my head of creative projects, some I think I should do, some I want to do. Also a handful of mundane tasks that have been on my to do list for 3+ years. It’s time I either buckle down and complete these projects or determine what the barriers are limiting me from completing these tasks.
1 | ditch the creative ideas and projects that aren’t sparking joy, alter expectations
In 2020, I lost sight of maintaining healthy boundaries with work. There was a point where I was working every weekend, feeling obligated to my employer to work 6 to 7 days per week because work was sparse at times in the middle of a pandemic. In December I realized the extra $120 on a paycheck wasn’t worth it. The bliss of having an entire day away from work did so much for my mental health than the extra hundred bucks a paycheck.
2 | prioritize time with and for myself aware from work without guilt or shame
I’m notoriously bad at maintaining a morning and nighttime routine. I’ve fallen into the bad habit of sleeping in on work days if I know my schedule is lighter than usually, which often back fires because things always pop up. I justify these actions by convincing myself I’m spending time with Kyle when in reality, his sleeping body is just next to my sleeping body.
3 | wake up at the same time every work day, despite having a ‘short work day’
“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.“
No one can know what the future holds, but this is a good enough place to start.
Until next time, Meryn