Promises for 2012

On “The Daily Love”  I recently read an interesting article about making promises instead of resolutions for 2012. I liked the distinction between vague resolutions and specific promises and decided to not make new year’s resolutions this time, but a few promises instead. And to use this blog to be held accountable for keeping them by also promising to write a post about it at the end of each month.

Usual new year resolution for me had been or would be “lose some weight”, “work out more”, “eat less chocolate” etc. The typical stuff. And I’m not saying that I won’t try to do some or all of that (because it would be a much healthier lifestyle). I hestitate to make a specific promise in that regard though. Maybe because I know how bad I was at keeping those promises/resolutions in the past. Yes, I know I shouldn’t expect failure before even trying.
But I think the main reason to choose different promises this time is, that my main concern is less my physical health, but much more the state of my emotional and mental health. I’ve written several posts this year about my procrastination, about me feeling listless and about me worrying too much and all that stuff.
The 8 week stress reduction program I recently completed, helped me to get some perspective and to find ways to deal with the stressful situations my own mind tends to put me in. I’m determined to work on that more, especially as by now I realize that I’ve already started slacking in regards to any kind of mediation or yoga practice. And that I’ve already started to not live up to my own resolution to be more active and to just “do” more new and interesting things and with that have more positive experiences.

These all are aspects of my life I want to change, and I hope that making promises in that regard will help me to achieve this. So here are my seven promises for 2012, starting with a clearly physical health-related promises after all, but  I don’t consider this a contradiction to the statement at the beginning of this post :-).

1. Go to the Kieser Trainig gym at least twice a month (i.e. every two weeks)
I know from experience that this 30 minute training does help with my occassional back/neck/shoulder problems. And it’s only 30 minutes of my time after all. I really should be able to make time for that twice a month.

2. Do a short yoga practice in the morning at least twice a week
I learned this kind of yoga exercises in my stress reduction program and for a short while I already practiced this short 10 minutes set every morning. But then I started slacking and… well. It’s really just 10 minutes. I can get up 10 minutes before my usual time to get up. One of these times could even be on the weekend.

3. Practice the “gratitude and affection” body scan at least once a week
I don’t find any information online about this variation of the ordinary Body Scan of the MBSR practice. I wrote about it in this post though.

4. Treat myself to a Thai massage every month
I felt very relaxed and at the same time energized after the first one I had three weeks ago, so I think it’s worth to do that on a regular basis. There is this new salon in my small town, the standard massage doesn’t take more than 60 minutes and it’s only 26€, which I consider a fair deal.

5. Go geocaching at least once a month
At first I thought about making a promise about finding X geocaches each month, but as I obviously suck at actually finding those, I didn’t want to put myself up to too much failure :-)

6. Go to the theatre / opera etc. at least once a month
So many times in the past I had thought “You should go to the theater / learn more about classic music etc”, but I never actually did something about it. A few weeks ago I heard of a special offer at the theatre in the neighbouring town. Pay 50 EUR for the special theatre card and for the whole theatre season you get 50% discount, if you purchase the ticket at the box office on the day of the performance. This theatre offers a wide range of plays, opera, ballett etc and I’m determined to put that card to good use.

7. Visit at least one museum / zoo / park in the Ruhr region each month
The Ruhr region is the metropolitan area I live in. The region’s tourism agency offers a special card, which gives you one-time free entrance to more than 100 museums, parks, zoos, water parks etc in the area and also 50% bonus for a lot of other activities and theme parks even outside of the Ruhr area.
I’ve bought this card – the “Ruhrtopcard” ( german website) – every year in the last five years or so and every year I plan to use it regulary, but I never do. I used it a couple of times but not even as often enough to at least save as much money as I paid for the card in the first place.

So, these are my seven promises for 2012 and I will write about how good (or bad) I am at keeping them at the end of each month. Promises don’t make much sense with consequences for broken promises. It took me a while to come up with feasible and meaningful consequences.
I didn’t want the consequences to be too harsh for me to handle (because I know I probably would give up on the whole project after a few weeks) but I neither wanted them to be too easy for me to fulfill. I also thought that the consequences at least should also have some additional positive effect on my health, so that at least I benefit from doing them. Sneaky, right :-)?

I came up with two different consequences, one for the more health-related promises 1 – 4 and one for the positive- experience-related promises 5 – 7.

If I break one of the first 4 promises (gym, yoga, massage, meditation), I have to cycle (outdoors or on a stationary bike) for at least 60 minutes every week of the following month (i.e. next four weeks).
If I break another one of these four promises I have to add 30 minutes, another 30 for a 3rd broken promise and so on. I plan to do some cycling next year anyway, but this consequence might give me an additional incitement to do so.

If I break one of the other 3 promises (geocaching, theatre, museum), I have to give up chocolate and Starbucks for one week in the following month and for an additional week for every other broken promise from this positive-experience promises.
I figured that giving up choclate and Starbucks will at least be beneficial to my general health, even though it really will be a sacrifice on my part.

I admit I’m already a bit excited (but also a bit nervous) about this whole “Promises 2012” project. I’m not sure if I will be able to live up to my own expectations and if I will be willing to live with the consequences I plan to apply on myself. I guess, only time will tell…

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