Relax, take it easy (for 2022)

I’m a resolutions person. I look forward to the rest start of a new year almost more than Christmas. Even when I’m like, no, this year I’m not making resolutions, they’re always there in the back of my mind. Heck, I’m sure I’ve written about them before and potentially even included a similar introduction.

But why verify and find out I have to think harder about how to start this post.

The past two years have revealed a lot in my life. A lot of the cracks started to break down further and my mental health got away from me. I tried to same things I always did, looking for the instant fix, and I just felt worse.

See, that’s always been one of my biggest problems. I want the solution that will get me out of debt in a month. I want the plan to lose 20 pounds in two months. I want the montage version of my struggle so I don’t have to deal with the in between.

While I’m sure that level of dedication works for some people, it does nothing for me. I’m still overweight and in debt. All that happens is I fail within three days and fall back into old habits.

The solution seems simple, I realize. Relax, Chelsea, take it easy. That mental advice is as helpful as telling me to not worry so much as if that will solve a lifetime of anxiety.

This need to speed through relates to a larger issue, which is how exasperated life makes me. Let me explain. When I think about the fact that every day, for the rest of my life, I’ll have to do certain things, I just feel exhausted.

For example:

  • Realizing my chipping nail polish will plague me forever
  • Realizing my morning routine featuring devotional time will be with me forever
  • Realizing to some extent I will always have to be aware of what I eat and being active
  • Realizing at no point while I alive will I be done toiling on this earth

Dramatic, I know, but it’s the way my brain works. It gets to a point where everything feels pointless and the anxiety of life weighs me down.

It became clear I needed to slow down and enjoy the ride. Basically, I need to realize the journey takes time and be patient along the way. Instead of trying to rush to the end, be here now.

This year, I knew I had to set different goals. I couldn’t wake up January 1 and try to radically overhaul my life with diets and HIIT workouts. I wasn’t suddenly going to see an influx of cash. I needed to be in it for the long haul.

So what did I do? Set reasonable, yearlong goals for myself that I started working on BEFORE the new year. I know, it felt crazy.

The first area is my weight. I understand the importance of body positivity and while I’m not unhealthy, I know I’m not treating my body right. Instead of finding a diet to adhere to or counting calories, I wanted to focus on mindful eating. Yes, the simple concept of listening to my body.

It sounds simple, but I’ve been counting calories FOR A DECADE. When I look at food, all I see are calories. It’s warped so much of my thinking when it comes to eating. I also had to look at how much I eat. I always have this problem of worrying I won’t have enough, like ordering fries with my sandwich because I don’t think the sandwich is enough.

It’s not like I grew up without enough to eat. I’m not sure where that particular issue came from, but I have to remind myself now what it actually takes for me to be full vs my unwarranted concern I will be hungry, somehow.

So far it’s going okay. I have some days that are better and some days that are worse, but overall I’m better at not joining the clean plate club if I’m full before it’s over. I’m also being more active, starting with taking my dog for walks. It’s not intense, but it’s helping me move more.

The connection to my money comes from eating out. The amount of money I spent on food deliveries last year is OUTRAGEOUS. Plus nearly every delivery featured way more food than I needed. This vicious cycle kept me craving restaurant food and kept me further from my physical and financial goals.

I am my own worst enemy.

Fortunately, DoorDash was my problem, but it’s also my solution.

After realizing I had to stop ordering food so much, I know I had to deliver more. I love my nonprofit job, but it doesn’t always pay the bills, so I Dash on the side. The problem is I have to motivate myself to get up and going. I started really strong in October 2020, but as 2021 progressed, it became more and more of a burden.

I set down and looked how how much I wanted to save, what extra I needed for my spending, and how much I wanted to pay down on my credit cards each month. Turns out, that amount is fairly reasonable for Dashing. The key is recognizing it’s not as big of a commitment as my brain tells me and it’s the key for me.

So here I am, four days into the year, and I’m taking it easy. I know what I want to achieve and I’m learning to be patient that all of my goals are yearlong, meaning they aren’t expected to be reached until December. The challenge is not trying to speed up, but making the small changes that become a part of my lifestyle so they’re maintainable.

If I let myself get overwhelmed, I’ll fail, and if I lose sight of being patient, I’ll fail. But if I take it one day at a time and make the small decisions with big impacts, I’ll finally do it. For the first time in all my years of resolutions, I’ll actually hit my goals.

I want to be better and build habits that are sustainable for me. I want to take life slowly and appreciate all the steps and stop trying to rush to the happy ending.

Here’s to 2022, fam.