Confession: I do resolutions every month. If I’m trying to form a new habit or break an old one, at the beginning of the month, it gets added to my bullet journal habit tracker. I’ve used this to:

  • Go to bed by 10 (it took a while, and I started at 11, but it’s almost 100%)
  • Practice the piano daily (mostly)
  • Practice Welsh and German daily (yes, but occasionally I skip the German)
  • Do physical therapy daily (if I don’t, it’s painful)
  • Walk more (as above)
  • Do interval training (as above)
  • Cut out aspartame (although I’ve fallen off the wagon)
  • Get rid of at least one thing a day (I enjoy this one)
  • Meditate (it helps)
  • Cook more (being poor helps with this one; I have to be creative)

It’s not hard, and I’m sure you already know: pick a small goal, easily achievable, that doesn’t take a lot of time. I mean, if I play a scale on the piano, that counts. If I cook one meal a day, that counts, even if it’s grilled cheese or quesadillas. Since I am, apparently, the sort of person who is motivated by checking things off a list, this works.

I’m ambivalent about yearly resolutions; it’s too long a time, the goals are usually too vague and reflect an ideal aspect, not an achievable goal. (Not that it stops me from making them, though.) So a yearly resolution has to be one that gets done every day.

For 2018:

  • Read at least 10 pages of the Oxford Histories of the US, at least through the Reconstruction, since I get bored during the Gilded Age. Always have. I have a BA in history and have read much of what I find in the footnotes–a pleasant surprise so far–but I have a complicated and bizarre relationship with the Founders and it’s been over 20 years since I took an American history course (not counting legal history and a legal history seminar in law school). Also, when pH asks me a question about US history, I have a hard time giving a simple answer.
  • Learn Welsh mutations. (Or at least start.) The beginning of Welsh words mutate frequently and according to pretty regular rules, but it’s the linguistic PITA equivalent of German adjective endings. I can recognize mutations, and I’ve gotten to the point where I sometimes know when the word is supposed to mutate and how to do it, but it’s a hurdle.
  • Related: practice rolling my Rs. I’ve done it a few times, but not if the R comes after a vowel. People from the Western & extreme SE US (where my parents are respectively from, and where I’ve spent most of my life) tend to pronounce Rs really far back, which is pretty much the opposite of rolling an R (apologies to my friend the speech pathologist who could have articulated that much better than I did). When I had PT for my vocal chords, I was really excited because I thought I’d learn how. The therapist I saw said, “Oh, I can’t do it either.” I practice in the shower or when I’m driving alone. Eh. I look and sound pretty goofy doing it, but it’s better.
  • Personal lore. I think it’s relatively new research, but when feeling anxious, reminding yourself of your core values (e.g., creativity, learning, helping) reduces anxiety. I’ve tried it. It works.
  • Power stances. I need a better term, because that’s goofy AF. Anyway, it’s matter over mind: if you stand in a powerful way and occupy a lot of space–think hands on hips, shoulders back, and if you’re brave enough, manspreading–it actually makes you feel better. Like, less anxious, less depressed, more confident. As a small woman who was taught it was crass to stand or act that way, it’s difficult (except when I’m walking, because at least I was taught a good variant of the “don’t fuck with me” walk). And no, I don’t manspread, and I don’t ever do any sort of power stance when anyone can see me because I feel really silly. It works, though. (Also: speaking slowly, the verbal equivalent of occupying a lot of space.)
  • Not hide in my office as much in the evenings. It’s hard to be around pH all day, most days, and then be social when kH comes home. (At that point, I’m done in–I just want quiet.) I’ve managed to get kH to start watching police procedurals out of the UK (he spends a lot of time worried about the police not being armed and thus in danger; when the equivalent of a SWAT team showed up on Vera he was vastly relieved).
  • Work on my creative projects daily. (I decided for January, just doing research counts.)
  • Cut out diet soda. I’m GenX. This one’s tough.