We are now well into the New Year. I just want to let you know: I’m here for you. How are you doing? Are you okay? Are you moody from quitting smoking for the tenth time in the past two weeks? Does that milk jug feel like a large toddler dangling from your arms post-workout? Did you slice your finger (with that chef’s knife you bought at Bed, Bath, & Beyond when you convinced yourself you were to become a master chef and open a little café) while chopping vegetables for that supposedly quick and easy dinner recipe? I’ve been there, friend.
We all need a boost during this time of year – winter is cold and gray, and there’s only a Hallmark holiday to loathe on the horizon and a long credit card receipt trail behind you. With all that 2013 baggage, falling short of a goal set for the New Year can crush your fragile soul.
Breaking resolutions is a common thing, but sometimes we get a bit delusional about all of it, especially if we keep to them for more than a couple of days. We think This is so my year! and then a week later things seem to fall apart because you skipped the gym and ended up watching the entire first season of Game of Thrones while eating an entire bag of those healthy-but-not-if-you-eat-the-whole-bag-as-a-meal pita chips. (I’m looking at you, Stacy.)
Most people try and seek motivation, but sometimes people need a coping mechanism more than unrealistic pep talks and motivation to carpe diem. Because of this, I provided the laziest (on my part, not yours) preventative measures to postpone or soften the blow of a crash-and-burn. If you’ve already crashed, then I got a little something to tend to your wounds.
Diet & Exercise
1. You haven’t been to the gym in so long you fear someone noticing your absence and noting it, like the terrible, Haven’t seen you in a while!
2. You signed up for one of those color runs or zombie races in a bout of ambition. Since then, you have moved your new running shoes under your bed because you can’t look at them, let alone put them on.
3. All that produce you bought last week is about to go bad.
4. Your roommate’s ice cream has started to serenade you whenever you’re in the kitchen.
1. Be honest and say, Yeah. Needed some time off. Now you’re back and that’s the important thing. Or just tell that person to fuck off because your lifestyle is none of their business.
2. Just put on your running shoes. Don’t plan a distance or time beforehand. Just put them on and then see what happens.
3. Throw all those veggies into a pan with some olive oil and garlic; it’s much easier to eat warm veggies than a salad. I don’t care what anyone says, cold lettuce with tomatoes on it just makes my body say, Okay, ready for the real stuff! … Seriously, where’s the real stuff???
4. Stock up on food with a long shelf-life so when you inevitably forget to have a snack and want to eat a mammoth by dinner, you have options. Quick and easy stuff is your friend. Also, don’t buy the healthy stuff that tastes gross. Who cares what Dr. Oz says about kale? If you won’t eat it, don’t get it.
5. Bank on the fact that you’re going to eat the damn ice cream because everyone should eat the damn ice cream (unless your lactose-intolerant, in that case, coconut milk ice cream is delicious). For portion control (which I call, ‘rationing for tomorrow’), scoop some into the bowl and put the carton away. (Don’t forget to pay back your roommate.)
Anis Mojgani’s voice hugs you like a mother’s embrace and tells you you’re beautiful in a way you believe it. So remember that. You don’t need to be a certain shape or size to be beautiful. I know, cheesy, but try and remember that. Not going to the gym doesn’t make you ugly, just as going to the gym doesn’t make you pretty. I mostly just recommend the gym because the runner’s high is dope. To reassure yourself, do something else you enjoy on the days you don’t work out.
Drinking & Smoking
1. You were only going to go out for one drink because you promised to drink in moderation this year, but you woke up the next day and the sun was yelling at you and everything hurt.
2. You think about the last time you went to grab a drink and say to yourself, I’ve made a huge mistake.
3. You were so hungover on New Years Day that you lit your cigarette before you remembered you were supposed to be quitting.
4. You are so irritable that you yell at inanimate objects when you drop them or bump into them because it’s obviously their fucking fault.
1. Today is a new day! Pop some ibuprofen and chug some water and walk it off. You did it in college, you can do it now (it just hurts a little more).
2. Remember that hair of the dog can become a full-grown, slobbery dog very quickly.
3. Yes, you maybe made poor life decisions. Everyone does. Forgive yourself because chances are other people already forgot. If they bring it up, just go with it and then find someone to talk to who you can be honest with. Justifying your behavior to people who suck doesn’t help.
4. Stop putting cigarettes in easy-to-reach places so you’re not mindlessly reaching. Also, get an e-cigarette because you’ll inevitably watch a movie like Breathless or any episode of Mad Men and see everyone smoking and crave one.
5. Yell at inanimate objects as much as you want, but keep in mind who can hear you. Also go to Become An Ex because they probably have healthier alternatives.
Treat. Yo. Self. When you cave and buy cigarettes or buy that extra drink, don’t sweat it. I’m not calling smoking and drinking a treat, but replace those with real treats, like a 10 minute massage instead of spending the same amount of money for a pack of smokes. Exchange unhealthy treats for glorious treats. Because you deserve it.
There are three things to prevent me from becoming the champion of the world.
1. Facebook. Since I moved home, I need to stay connected to my friends, but I also have a habit of refusing to let people post ignorant comments on my Facebook wall for my friends to see. Fast-forward a bit and I’ve either defriended someone and/or cried and lost two hours of daylight.
2. Tumblr. Weird sense of humor plus infinite scroll? It’s like a drug – I sit there all empty inside and let out weird laughs on occasion… for hours.
3. Doing everything else on my to-do list except the main priority task. I have this idea in my head that if I put all those papers away in chronological order then it will help unclutter my mind and let me write this article. This is false. I also think that this poem in my head might disappear, so I must write it down. This is true, but still distracting.
These are just three examples of distractions that consume our time and make us feel unproductive because we kind of become unproductive if we spend hours on social media instead of interacting with real people and eating food to give us the energy to complete daily tasks.
1. Apps. There’s an app for everything. I recommend Workflowy (easy to use and not overwhelming) and Freaky Alarm (because nothing gets you out of bed faster than an obnoxious alarm that sounds like the apocalypse is upon us).
2. Talk to people and make plans. If you tell someone something you plan on doing, you’re probably going to do it sooner rather than later because screw whatever doubt they have in your ability to get stuff done!
3. Let yourself procrastinate. Just remember to ask if seeing that cat picture is as good as the feeling of finishing something. (Sometimes the cats are better, but the fiftieth cat might be too much.)
Hyperbole and a Half: Allie Brosh is a known procrastinator, but she also manages to address all those things we love and hate about life and make it all hilarious. So next time you’re procrastinating and you want some validation or a good laugh, read her blog.
1. You’ve had this moment with yourself: I’m tired. People are terrible, and I’m sick of it. (“Yeah!”) They’re just bringing me down, and I’m done with it! New Year? New start! New attitude! (“Hell yeah!”) I’m going to be positive and change the world with my optimism! I’ll be so positive, I’ll even tolerate Judy and her stupid fucking opinions! Everyone just needs more love! (“Yeah!”)
2. This was all fine and dandy after you printed out motivational quotes and downloaded every pep talk possible, but it went to shit January 2nd when Bill screwed up your coffee order and Susan’s bad mood pissed you off and then Judy said something stupid.
3. Or maybe you are someone whose mental health takes away that feeling of control over one’s attitude.
1. If you happen to be having a good day, don’t tell other people to “Brighten up!” or get defensive if people aren’t lovin’ life like you. Positivity is contagious, but don’t shove your good mood down people’s throats. If you do, chances are they’ll vomit it in your lap the next time you’re having a bad day.
2. Talk to friends and family you trust, but also know that sometimes your friends and family say terrible things without intention. Also, remember to avoid the really racist relatives at those family gatherings. They have the power to put your soul through a blender if given the right topic of conversation.
3. If you are someone diagnosed with depression, bipolar, or any other mental “illness,” find communities that validate what some people would call your “negative attitude,” like The Icarus Project. Feeling empowered enough to find positivity is far superior to being told to be positive.
4. Treat yo’ self. You really do deserve it.
Andrea Gibson is not a gentle poet, but a fiercely loving one. This poem, “The Madness Vase,” was in response to It Gets Better, and if you’re like me, sometimes hearing “It gets better…” is not always enough of a reassurance. If you crave catharsis, I recommend watching the entirety of this poem. This is a beautiful reminder that whether or not we succeed or fail at goals we set for ourselves, we are still here and that’s a rather wonderful thing.