yearly calendar on table with cup of coffee and dish of paper clips

December Resolutions

The yearly frustration that most of us can likely relate to is that our New Year’s resolutions only last a few weeks, or at best, a few months, and yet we continue to make them. It’s relatable because change is hard, and the excitement of turning over a new leaf soon gives way to the stresses of normal life and the reality of breaking old habits. But there’s something so attractive about starting fresh; new calendar, new me.

Clearly, I like the idea of making a deliberate change on a specific date. Something about marking your resolution with an external, cyclical change makes it feel more decisive. Unfortunately, I am so put off by the pressure of an entire year ahead of my resolutions that I simply don’t make any. I’ve made New Year’s resolutions in the past but petered out before they really formed habits. Then, the internal shame of having failed a New Year’s resolution discourages me from trying again mid-year. Because really, why can’t I just resolve to change whenever I want? Because human brains like to impose order on things like arbitrary laps around the sun.

Instead of griping about the pitfalls of New Year’s resolutions and why I can never seem to make it work for me, I’m going to try something different.

~*~*~*~December Resolutions~*~*~*~

This sounds incredibly silly and I think that it’s a little bit sad that it’s come to this, but I think I need to trick myself into meeting my goals. Instead of making a list of resolutions and waiting until the new year to begin, I’m going to have a trial month for my new habits. December will be my 31-day behavior test, and if I hate the goals/habits I come up with, no big deal. I won’t feel bad about quitting because it’s only my December resolutions, not the monumentally more important New Year’s resolutions.

(Yeah. It’s exactly the same thing, but shhh, don’t tell my brain.)

Bonus, if I do like my resolutions and am happy to keep going with them, I won’t have to face the overwhelm of a brand new year stretching ahead of me. I’ll already have a whole month under my belt.

I really think this is going to work for me, at least better than the usual resolution schedule does. Here’s my list of December resolutions, but remember, it’s low-stress, low-commitment, so these can change without me feeling like a failure. At least, that’s the theory.

  1. ACTUALLY start volunteering. Somewhere. Anywhere. Don’t just think about it.
  2. Keep running regularly (yay, I’ve already started!) See if I can reach a comfortable 5 miles by January. I’m more than halfway there, so this seems very doable.
  3. Reestablish a skincare routine, aka get my psoriasis under👏 control👏.
  4. Welcome the hostile Duolingo owl back into my life and start re-learning German.

These seem reasonable to accomplish within a month. The one that I’m definitely most apprehensive about is volunteering. At this point, I’ve thought about it for so long and looked at opportunities in such detail that I really have to just go and do it, and try not to worry about all of the unknowns (thanks, SPD).

Ok, internet, hold me accountable.

lamb sleeping in profile against wooden boards

Let Yourself Dream

Months ago, I made a draft document full of blog ideas. One of those ideas simply read “Let Yourself Dream”, with a brief list of my own lifelong dreams. It sat, unused, for months until, two days ago, my therapist suggested that I let myself dream this week. The words stuck, niggled in my brain for a few hours, and finally clicked. I had already written it down as a blog idea!

My depression is finally starting to lift, thanks to IV ketamine infusions and my rock-solid support system. Over the last few days, I’ve found myself thinking about all of the things that I want to do, now that I’m feeling better. Actually wanting to do something is an unfamiliar feeling, and is honestly a little overwhelming. There’s so much I want to do! Where do I start, and will this newfound mental health last? Rather than getting bogged down in all of the what ifs, this week, I’m going to dream.

1. Train and Certify Stella as a Therapy Dog

This is a goal that I’ve had ever since I adopted Stella, and maybe even before then. I think it would be so rewarding to volunteer with her in retirement homes, physical therapy treatment facilities, and hospitals. When I was a patient in a mental health hospital, we were delighted when a therapy dog came to visit us. To be able to bring a little bit of happiness to people in a difficult situation I have experience with would be beyond gratifying.

2. Hobby Farm

THIS has been my dream for a good decade or so. I love animals, and there’s something about having a house with spacious property and a chicken coop, barn for some sheep and goats, maybe a dairy cow, and some alpacas (so my mother can have their wool) that just sounds perfect. I love routine, and the hard work of caring for animals every day and maintaining a garden and home seems like it would be therapeutic for me. This is a lofty goal, but hey, we’re dreaming, here.

3. Make Writing a Career

Yeah. Not sure how to go about doing this or even if I would do okay at it. But doesn’t it sound nice to wake up, go take care of my farm animals, then spend time writing in my sunny home office before harvesting some home-grown vegetables? Sounds wonderful to me!

4. Have a Regular Social Calendar

This is maybe not so much a “dream” as it is an eventual necessity. Depression combined with introversion has made me very isolated. The thing to do now is to find some groups that interest me and actually go to them. Not just bookmark it or download an app, but actually go to an event and meet people. Easier said than done, but the best things are worth working for.

5. Run a Half-Marathon

Yet another thing I bookmarked and set aside. I used to run almost every day, and at times, it was really beneficial to my mental health. Unfortunately, I stopped running entirely for a while, and since then, have picked it up only in fits and spurts. If I’m going to reach my goal of running a half-marathon (let’s be reasonable- a full marathon is too much for me) I need to run with more consistency and pick a race to train for. The good news is, it’s always easier to get back into than I think.


These are just a few of my dreams, and although some of them are distant, it’s nice to remember that I’ve already achieved so many of my old ones. Getting my own dog was number one on my list after college, and now the single greatest joy/irritation in my life is watching my canine friend slam her paw down on my keyboard when I’m not petting her enough. It’s so endearing.

What are your dreams? Have you thought about it lately? Maybe take a moment this week to revisit those goals that seem out of reach and reassess; how would you go about achieving them?