February: Energy

Feb 15, 2011
But first, the January wrapup

If I accomplished nothing else in January, I figured out what I was doing with this whole year-long project. I want to improve my status quo, to make the baseline of my life a little bit better than it is right now, and I wanted to do it in a way that integrated all of these parts of my life so that these new habits would stick. This has given me some excellent insights into planning out the rest of my goals, and I'm excited to see how it keeps going.

So how did I do with my January goals of daily recordkeeping? Pretty well, actually. Not perfect -- I didn't manage every single day -- but perfect isn't necessary. Trying is. I admit, the past few days have been an exercise in giving myself permission to fail, between two fourteen-hour days in a row, an appendicitis scare (fortunately it was nothing more serious than a strained muscle), and the resulting complete breakdown of my schedule at home. But I will start over again, and that will be enough. (Is it terribly cliché of me to admit to an Alanis Morissette song as my mantra?)

February: Energy

Although it starts with the festival of Brigid, February is, in the Upper Midwest, the absolute depths of winter, and for me usually the hardest month of the year. It's brighter, but not bright enough; still freezing cold and snowing; and spring seems forever away.

Usually, anyway. This year we had our January thaw just this past week, and they're predicting temperatures in the fifties tomorrow and Thursday. But I planned for the usual February, so that is the work I am doing anyway.

If the first component in achieving anything is optimism -- the belief that it can be achieved -- the second step is energy, the power to make it so. I thought about including the Magick 101 kind of energy work in my goals for this month, but that just wasn't what came to mind when I contemplated what I needed in order to make my life work. I have tried, in the past, to set goals like "honor the full moon every month" or "work through the exercises in The Inner Temple of Witchcraft" but they all fall apart when I get home from work and don't have the energy to do anything but cook dinner and collapse on the couch.

We are creatures made of meat, not just spiritual beings, and the body needs just as much attention as the soul. So my goals for this month are all very physical ones, the mundane list of things they always tell you to do to be healthier and have more energy: at least eight hours of sleep every night and get up at the same time every morning, a good breakfast and a snack midday to keep me running, and exercise at least three times a week. (Daily would be better, but let's be realistic here.) Since I also tend to get hit pretty badly with seasonal depression, I've added sitting under my daylight lamp for at least half an hour a day to my regimen. It does indeed seem to help.

And since it's already halfway through February by the time I've gotten around to posting this, how have I been doing? Not as well as January, I admit, but not too shabbily either. It does seem to help to have a list of things I need to do and a place to check them off. I've been using a little web widget called Joe's Goals to track my daily goals, and there's something very satisfying about a row of little green checks all across the screen. I shall keep my mantra in mind, and work on improvement rather than perfection. Perfection is boring, anyway, right?

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