Upon the New Year, I posted 21 Droughtlander Resolutions for 2018. Although we’ve made it through most of Droughtlander (Season 4 premiere of Outlander STARZ’s is only about 4 months away!), while it continues, and to the extent to which resolutions matter or prove interesting as a thing, here’s an update for our mutual benefit or amusement.
I’ve found that being accountable to my readers may have added a boost to keeping my resolutions. While considering posting an update in March, I checked in with the promises I made to myself in January. Although no published update materialized at that point, I revisited the idea earlier this month. With each check-in, I found I’d accomplished more and more, and these have been encouraging surprises–important, in fact, to bring to my consciousness in a more formal way so as to curb habitual pessimism.
Another thing that may have helped was articulating the advice I shared in the original resolutions list post:
My best advice for both of us, then: When in drought or doubt, fill your life with what matters most, forgive yourself your failings, and strive to be your best version of yourself. And if there is no doubt–or drought–for you, charge ahead with gusto!
The following is mainly a pat on my back that I invite you to do for yourself as well. Here are some steps you might take:
- Identify what you’ve accomplished and celebrate! (Mine are in bold below.)
- Assess resolutions that were too ambitious, unrealistic, or that have for whatever reason become legitimately lower priorities. Then, modify or remove them.
- Adjust your goals in response to actions 1 and 2.
After a thorough review and rethinking of my goals, I came to these conclusions.
- How I’m doing by the numbers: Of 21 Droughtlander Resolutions for 2018, as of mid-2018, I have kept resolutions 1, part of 5, 6, 7, part of 8 (remind me to separate them out better next time), 9, 11, 13 (sort of), 14, 17 (in progress), 19 (in progress though I’ve reduced its priority level), and 21, which is the fodder for this post. It’s not entirely fair to judge by the numbers, but that makes a total of about 11, which is half of a rather long starting list. Not too shabby.
- The real measure of the success of aligning action with intention is whether, in reassessing them, I have focused on the most important things in my life to attend to or improve. There, it’s a mixed bag, and I think it’s not unfair to say I really should shift focus and apply myself more to those things, e.g.: health, family, finance, and career and personal fulfillment.
- Resolutions 7 and 9 have been huge accomplishments. I’m way ahead of schedule on my book reading list for the year, and I’ve successfully reconditioned my dog for less separation anxiety to the point where we can actually leave him home alone for more than 1 hour. Hallelujah! I wrote about this challenge in Helping Dogs Who Fear Being Alone and Ethan Builds Frustration Tolerance. For those who are interested in how I reached this milestone, which also happened to help increase my book reading, I applied a DIY blend of Patricia McConnell’s and Malena Demartini-Price’s separation anxiety treatment programs from the Kindle editions of their respective books I’ll Be Home Soon!: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety and Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs. The Demartini-Price book is written for the dog trainer audience, but I helped Ethan without the aid of a trainer, though we consulted one from her network in early December. I should write a post reviewing their books and Patricia Miller’s The Power of Positive Dog Training. I also like McConnell’s The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs. Lots of good stuff. I’m now reading Help for Your Fearful Dog by Nicole Wilde for more generalized anxiety rehab, and we’ll see what we can learn.
- I’ve been working steadily though not daily on my writing–resolution 1–returning often and working especially hard on my poetry, motivated by giving a live performance. These good challenges have yielded some good results. Along with the performance, I am getting four of my poems published in a literary magazine being distributed during the performance weekend (see the above link). Although I would like to increase regular productivity, I am very happy about these developments.
- Resolution 11, dog training, has led us to some great experiences with agility class. Ethan really loves it, and it’s keeping me in better shape than I’d be in otherwise.
- Printing Scotland photos and gifting them, resolution 14, as well as hanging them on our own walls, continues to add color, reminiscence and joy to our lives.
- Resolutions 15 and 16 amount to health and happiness. Though not followed to the letter, both are in progress. Happiness: I’ve kept up photography, enjoyed watching some movies, and mingled with fellow writer friends during Camp NaNoWriMo in both April and July. I had fun taking Ethan to a dog park with a lake he played in for the first time with other dogs, and I keep taking him to stores and other high-traffic places, though regular exposure to these things for his socialization could use a boost. For my health, I’ve started watching my calorie, carbs, and bad fats intake, being more mindful of cooking and eating habits, refraining from excess desserts, saying no for a change to offered treats, and eating more salads and healthy proteins. Persistent inflammation, fatigue, and a not-so-great lipids report (low good cholesterol and high triglycerides) have brought a surge of motivation in this area. I’m compiling recipes and considering a formal diet program. It’s in the works, and it has helped to start small, be patient, not starve myself, and think permanent.
- Easier to do: Committing to wearing Outlander– and Scotland-inspired gift accessories (6) was a bit frivolous as a resolution, but I like to wear them. Seeing Macbeth (17) was already on the schedule, and I had great fun.
- I’m a bit lost at the moment, honestly, about direction for my career, which is an old story. It’s one of those things I keep returning to, thinking about, trying new things for, and remaining unhappy with. Actually, it’s the thing I’m usually most dissatisfied and confused about. So there it is. The universe can save me any time it wishes.
- Resolution 20 is a vague, general bit of encouragement amounting to “Yes, I can!” Sometimes I’m not sure it’s even necessary, but at other times it seems to be the most important thing to work on. It’s that self-help curse of being trapped between telling yourself you can in a way that you’ll believe and just getting stuff done. Although my health and especially how I’m feeling has been discouraging, my tutoring and writing work continue. In practical terms, I’ve designed and printed orders of blog business cards with my great blue heron logo and unloaded almost 75 of the first run’s 100 cards. Some of this may have added followers, but using Twitter probably added more. At any rate, I’ve reprinted the cards and will distribute some at my poetry performance next weekend in downtown Canton. The sum of all this is to create and keep momentum in my life and work, hoping good things will come of it.
Things I’m now less motivated about:
- Outlander miscellany (resolutions 2, 4, 6, 10 and 12), in part because of the aversion I’ve felt to the obsession with it and in part because of continuing misgivings about the TV series’ treatment of the Jamie-Claire relationship, both of which I discussed in a post on setting limits a while ago.
- Stretching and yoga (13) because they create fatigue as much as, if not more than, relaxation and relief.
- Simplifying life with tools, services and systems (18) is that sort of non-urgent but important task that many of us tend to let languish.
- Reading Scottish literature (19), which I’ve done quite a bit of lately–I’m ready to move on. I see no need to pay it greater attention than other literature, for similar reasons that I continue to check my Outlander obsession.
I think, though, that turning somewhat away from Outlander and Scotland is also a symptom of sadness over knowing I probably won’t be returning to Scotland any time soon or seeing the kind of change I’d prefer in the nature of the Jamie-Claire relationship portrayal on the show. And so, naturally, in letting these hopes go, I unfix my gaze on the subjects as well.
Setting aside another Scotland trip isn’t easy with the Open Championship happening in Carnoustie right now. However, my husband and I are planning a long-overdue California vacation to visit family and see Yosemite, which is nothing to sneeze at.
As for my 2018 resolutions overall, I’ve won some, lost some, let go of some, and held others more tightly. No doubt the landscape will continue to change shape, come drought or high water. I don’t beat myself up for weakened or discarded resolutions because, for one, it’s not on my resolutions list to do so. Instead, I look ahead, try to stay positive, keep my goals in sight, check in periodically, and live life as best as I can. I hope you will, too.
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