To be quite honest, I can’t stand New Year’s Resolutions. I do them every year, but I guess that is really just me giving into the societal pressures of having to resolve to do something new, fun, exciting, groundbreaking, (insert adjective of your choice here) in the new year. While January 1st is always an opportune and symbolic time to make a ‘fresh start,’ there is really always time to make a fresh start, whether it’s January 1st or June 13th. We can resolve to be better, healthier, more active, more social, more organized whenever we want – all it takes is the intention.
But, in the spirit of New Year’s Eve, I have set some goals for myself in 2014. Some of them are horse-related, while others are me-related. Check them out below:
- Jump 2’6″ – 2’9″ by the end of 2014. A little tidbit about my riding career – I was sour on jumping for years, especially after some bad falls and too many bad trainers that felt it was better to push me to a point of complete and utter discomfort rather than working with me on my fears. I took a break from riding for a year and a half because I was so terrified. During my first lesson with my new (and amazing) trainer, I told her I didn’t want to do any jump or canter work. Fast forward to November 2013, exactly a year later, where I stated I wanted to be jumping 2’6″ – 2’9″ consistently by the end of 2014. My trainer calls this ambitious, and it may be, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying as hard as I can to reach that goal. While I unfortunately do not have a horse that can jump 2’9″ right now, we will see what the new year brings. The point is I love jumping again, and I’ve been riding for 18 years, so I should probably whip my jumping into shape.
- Ride more often. For the people in my life, this may seem weird. How can I possibly ride more? In actuality, I only ride 3 or 4 times a week, in one weekend. However, I made the decision over the summer to bring my pony out of retirement, and my green horse is coming along very nicely. With my extremely flexible spring semester schedule (no class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), I am going to devote more time to riding on the days I have off. That doesn’t mean I’ll be taking fewer lessons, but I’ll at least work on getting stronger during the week, and hopefully it will translate into the weekend.
- Save more money. I have a nice chunk of change saved up, but I cannot ignore the fact that I will be finishing school, working a big girl job, and having to think about doing adult things like buying a house, paying my own bills, and slowly getting off the gravy train that I’ve been on for the last 30 years (I’m actually 26, but I’m planning on my parents’ continued financial support for like.. the next 4). Basically, I need to start planning for the eventual last stop on the gravy train, so I should probably start doing that 4 years in advance. Also, if you’re wondering whether my parents know about this, they absolutely do! I have already had a retirement account for two years, and I’ve been faithfully depositing money in it every week. I have a savings account, a checking account, and a brokerage account for my stocks. I’m the type of person that needs to have my money for different things kept separately. So I have my savings account for me, my checking account for my bills, my retirement account for my.. well, retirement, and I will be putting more money each week into my brokerage account as a nice little nest egg for my horses. I should’ve been doing this long before I started, but that brings me to my next goal:
- Stop living in the past. I really don’t do this that often, but every once in a while, I notice myself saying “well if I hadn’t spent money on that stupid thing 5 years ago,” or “if I hadn’t taken that break from horseback riding,” or “if I hadn’t wasted my time on that person,” and that pattern of thinking if completely self-destructive. Here’s the thing, the past happened already, and no matter how much I think about what I could have or should have done differently, it’s not going to change. It’s set in stone. Completed. Finished. So what’s the next easiest thing to do? Make a change now. Reflecting on the past can be a good thing, say, when you want to remind yourself that bad things have happened in the past, and you still made it to today, but focusing on what you could’ve done differently and how that would’ve changed the present is pointless, because it just isn’t going to happen. I’ll have more money in the future if I change my actions now. I’ll be a better rider if I change my actions now. Make sense? I think this is a trap that a lot of people get caught in, and we all need simple reminders that we need to start living in the present and planning for the future, but no so much that it makes us psychotic.
- Redo my freakin’ room. I have a lot of clothes, and books, and shoes, and crap in my room that I just do not use. It sits there, collecting dust, pissing me off, and making my room all cluttered. I keep vowing I am going to get rid of the stuff I don’t use, whether I donate it to charity, throw it out, or sell it on Poshmark, eBay, or through some other online vendor. Do I really need my history textbook from 2008? Or my LSAT prep books from 2010? Or that tupperware container from college that is filled with beauty products that have either expired or are no longer even trendy? Probably not. I don’t even want to get into the absurd amount of clothes and shoes I own. Everything needs to go. I need to have a more functional living space. Period.
- Start Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map. If you don’t know who Danielle LaPorte is, take a trip over to her website. Her writing is inspiring. Her daily, weekly, and/or monthly emails are radiant. She’s probably one of my top 10 favorite writers, and that is saying something, because I am seriously picky about other people’s writing. The Desire Map is about getting clear on how you want to feel. By gaining that clarity, we begin to feel how we want to feel more often and with less effort. And those feelings can actually help us achieve our lifelong goals. Danielle calls it “holistic life planning,” “the inner meets the outer,” and “the spirit drives the material.” I purchased the book in October, never started it due to that little thing called law school, but I swear I am going to this year. Scout’s honor.
- Devote more time to my blog. I have wanted to start a blog for a while because I love to write, but I literally had no idea what I would even write about. I finally settled on this, and while it’s a work in progress, I think it’s been going pretty well. I’d like this to be a composite of horse-related, legal-related, and me-related things. I’m still finding my niche. But, I am going to spend more time coming up with ideas, engaging with my hopefully growing audience, and trying to establish my own little footprint on this big internet world. If you’re on this ride now, I hope you stick around for the journey – whatever it ends up being.
- Stop feeling guilty about my feelings. My education for the first 12 years of my life consisted of good old Catholic school. I had to take religion class, then “Theology” as it was called in high school. I attended a private university for two years, and then ended up transferring to a local private religiously-affiliated university where I again had to take some sort of religious class to fulfill one of the core requirements. I guess you could say I have a tendency to experience that lovely Catholic guilt, especially when I feel something that may be less than Christ-like in my childhood nun teachers’ eyes. Without getting too religious here, I struggled to define my spirituality throughout my life. At one point I said I didn’t even believe in God, but that wasn’t true. I went through a “tough time” and began to feel spiritual again, and for now, I just like to mix and match my own theories and ideas in order to be a spiritual being in this day and age. I’m comfortable with my beliefs, yet I still feel guilty if I have an angry thought about my mother or if I am bothered by something someone does that literally bothers everyone else I know. I’m not saying I’m gonna ignore my conscience, but I think my conscience is terribly loud sometimes. And it really needs to shut up, especially when I know I am not being unreasonable.
- Make meditation a habit. Meditation is probably one of the most difficult things for me to do. Quiet my mind? Yeah, okay. My mind is always racing. At any given moment, there are approximately 75 different things about which I am thinking. School. Grades. Money. Jobs. Where I’ll be in the future. How I’ll get there. Horses. Horses. Horses. I wish I was Lillie Keenan. I wish I was a better rider. I wish I had more money. Ugh, why is my room so messy? I hate the cold weather. I wish it was summer. I need to stop eating these cookies. But they’re so good. What if I don’t get a good job after my clerkship? How am I going to afford my lifestyle? I hate when my friends don’t text me back in a timely manner. And it goes on, and on, and on. I began practicing meditation a few years ago, and I’ve been pretty good at keeping it a part of my life, but I could be doing better. Last night I meditated for 20 minutes, and it took about 10 for me to feel fully relaxed and calm. Usually I only do one meditation a night, but I’m thinking I might need to extend my sessions to make it more beneficial. I know that I will get better at it as I keep practicing, so I just need to keep practicing. If you haven’t tried meditating, but are interested, check out Gabrielle Bernstein. She’s one of my favorite new age gurus, and her guided meditations are seriously on point.
- Be more patient. I have no patience. Zero. Zip. Nada. Things have to happen now. If they can’t happen now, I want to know when. I want to know how long something will take. I want to know the outcome. I’m literally the worst when it comes to patience, and this also might have something to do with my need to control everything. I’m borrowing this from Gabby Bernstein’s latest blog because she put it best:
11. Keep it simple. Have you ever desperately wished you could make change happen overnight? If so, you’re not alone: we’ve all been there. But we must surrender to the fact that real change happens by adding up subtle shifts. Each subtle shift creates a new experience of positive change. When we add up these moments, we create new behavior. It’s important to keep it simple and stay in the day. Let yourself off the hook! Instead of getting overwhelming by focusing on changing your whole life right now, simply begin paying attention to the moment-to-moment subtle shifts. Trust that the miracle lies within the subtleties.
So those are my 10 things I would like to accomplish in 2014. I think they are do-able, and I also think that is the most important thing to remember when doing whatever it is you do for New Year’s, make them do-able. Setting lofty goals for the new year can be more overwhelming than life-changing. We don’t want to start the new year over-whelmed. It’s supposed to be a fresh start, remember? So brainstorm on what you’d like to accomplish in 2014. It could be one thing or twenty things.
What are your 2014 hopes, dreams, and goals?