January 2, 2012

Being gentle with yourself in the new year

By Babs Mountjoy

So often we take the first day of the year as some sort of mysterious wonder date, The Time when everything will happen if we just begin right then

I will lose all the weight I should.
I will dress beautifully and be a style-setter.
I will finish that %#$@ novel if it kills me. (let's hope it doesn't)
I will....take your pick. Save money. Get rich. Participate in sports. Smile more. Whatever it is, we seem to be more convinced it will happen because we're starting at that Magic Date.
Worse, we choose lofty goals during that warm glow of the ball coming down and the sparkling cider. We won't lose 10 pounds, but 50. We won't save $20 a week but $75. We set ourselves up to fail, and then when we do, we lose all motivation and likely put on that ten pounds instead.

I suggest instead that we look at each day as the opportunity to make those changes that we long to see happen. We can be kinder to our spouse. We can put a special note in the kids' lunch so they know we love them all day long. We can skip the dessert and have a piece of fruit. Each day. And if we screw up one day, it's not a major loss. We can start again the next day.

Maybe this is just the softening vision of someone who's nearly moved into post-motherhood, or someone who's accepted her own shortcomings. I'm just not as adamant or feminist or hard-and-fast as I used to be. At the same time, despite fibromyalgia and the onset of arthritis and a third family of kids (three with special needs) and a change of career late in life, I've been more productive in my writing this year than ever. I've had three novels published in the last 14 months, and I have four--count them, 4!--novels contracted for next year. So far. Several more are under consideration for 2012, and I have a three-book YA speculative fiction series under contract for 2013 already. But not because I'm beating myself up every day. More likely, it's because I do a little bit every day, and occasionally really let myself go. I invite you to do the same.

Babs Mountjoy writes science fiction and fantasy under the name Lyndi Alexander, and romance under the name Alana Lorens. She's a family law attorney in her day life, and a novelist at night, like a red-caped superhero. :) 

Her romance novel set in a New Mexico brothel, SECRETS IN THE SAND, is available from The Wild Rose Press.

Soon to be released is her new romantic suspense novel,
Who knows what else might come along in the next year? All we can do is stay tuned and encourage ourselves gently to  do our best, forgive ourselves when we misstep, and as Bill and Ted suggested, "Be excellent to each other."


Barbara Mountjoy said...

Thanks, Anna, for the chance to visit with you and your readers today. Best wishes for a productive New Year.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing with us and for being my guest.

Katherine said...

I agree with you, Barbara. Too often I find myself wanting to set goals that are far too lofty to achieve in a single year. When I realize I've done it again, I move it to my 5 year goal list and choose a more reasonable goal to take its place.

You inspire me with the amount of writing you did last year.

Becky said...

Great post, Barbara. I agree with you. I do find myself setting goals that I probably will not reach, but I go give up. I will accept what I can achieve.

marybelle said...

New Year Resolutions , for the most part, are unrealistic. As if life will magically be different. I don't make them.