So, it’s the end of January.
How are those resolutions going?
Hopefully you didn’t make any, and instead decided to focus your whole year on your whole self and give change the slow, gradual crawl it needs to become permanent. Think of what you want to achieve like you’re learning a new language – it doesn’t happen in a week and it doesn’t happen without serious, ongoing effort. There’s practice and triumph and failure and more practice, so whatever you’re trying to do, give yourself a break. Find ways to maintain your happiness regardless of the effort or the outcomes. Allow yourself to both stray and stay the course. Nothing is permanent as long as you’re still moving.
That’s what I’m in the process of doing right now — Focusing on staying happy in a situation where I might ruin an otherwise amazing time with post-facto remorse.
My year started with a commitment to once again fit into some clothes that have mysteriously shrunk this past year. It’s not an enormous undertaking, but it required planning and will-power. And then, one of my many “You Really Need to Check THIS Out!” newsletters popped up in my inbox with this:
Yes. It’s true. Los Angeles has a Cookie Convention & Sweets Show.
A COOKIE CON?!
Are you kidding me?
I’m on working on a plan here! And it doesn’t involve a day spent shoving cookies into my pie hole! That’s not even being used for pie anymore.
But despite my newfound commitment to my old, skinny jeans, I could not keep myself from at least clicking over to check it out.
Dammit! Cookies I wouldn’t regret missing too much, but these…I can’t even tell what they are but now…I. Must. Have. Them.
So, I revisited the plan. I calculated how much a day spent consuming an unseemly amount of confections might set me back, and I realized I could pre-plan for this one, mitigate the damage, and actually, I would not be too far off track. Whew!
So…I got passes.
To a Cookie Convention.
And Sweets Show.
But planning ahead is only half of the work. I still have to make sure I maximize the pleasure of attendance and minimize any self-immolation I might accidentally slip into afterwards. And you know I’m all about Happiness techniques, so I went ahead and created one just for this event.
- PLAN. I’ll make one small change every day between now and the Cookie Con that will keep me on track for my goals, and I will thoroughly enjoy that change. Throw in an extra “no-bread-no-sugar” day? Cool! Every time I crave, I can remind myself how many more cookies that means I get. Only plant-based foods this weekend? No problem! Bring on the salted caramel truffles (dear Lord, someone had better be handing out salted caramel truffles!)
- PRE-PARTY. Embrace the pleasure I am going to get from going to this. Go to the website or the Yelp page once a day and plan how I will spend my time there, what I might eat or drink, which samples I will knock a grandma over for. Why only have the fun last for that one day when it can be every day leading up to it as well?
- PERMIT. The day of the Con, I will release all inhibitions about anything I might want to taste. This day, I give myself full permission to chomp down on everything I can get my happy little paws on. I will take pictures of the things that give me most pleasure so that I can re-live the memory of savoring them and make people on Facebook jealous. Ha! I will go back for seconds. Or more.
- PLEASURE!! No guilt and no remorse. I have made a full commitment to only have happy, gossamer, sugary memories of the day. And if I have to make adjustments afterwards to reach my goals, I will enjoy those, too, knowing I didn’t deprive myself of something truly joyful. This is a rare occurrence, and I’m going to make it worth every minute, every morsel, every ounce.
So, is there something unique and special that you are depriving yourself of because calories or budget or time won’t let you partake? If you truly can’t do it, find a way to release the desire, and look at what you can do that gives equal pleasure. But if you can find a way to swing it, go for it! Maximize the happiness, minimize the guilt, and create a memory that makes you smile for the rest of the year, and maybe a few years to come.
And if you are in LA on February 6th, you know where to find me.
Somewhere in the vicinity of this: