Last week, I wrote about all the things I stopped buying in 2016. Over the weekend, though, I started trying to remember what my resolutions or goals were last January.
In January 2016, I was definitely fixated on continuing pumping. I remember desperately thinking that if I could keep pumping breastmilk for just three more months, I was at 6 months--and then it would be easy to make it to a year, right? Nope! By the time April rolled around, I was pumping less than 1/4 of an ounce every 2 hours, even through the night, totally just barely 6-10 ounces per day. I had to give up the ghost. So that's one goal (would you call a fixation a goal?) that didn't make it in 2016.
But I don't remember actually ever sitting down and thinking about goals in 2016. I really wanted to take more time for myself. I really wanted to start working out again. I really wanted to eat healthier.
But I didn't really set any hard and fast goals. At least as far as I remember.
Then, my husband reminded me: one of my top goals in 2016 was to use my free time to be productive.
At the time (January 2016), Forrest was 3 months old and barely sleeping. We were still in an exhausted haze. We didn't start sleep training until late June. Which meant that every day for the first 6 months of 2016, every moment of every day, I was holding Forrest--for naps, for play times, for bottles, everything.
And yet, I wanted to be more productive. The house was a mess; we ran the dishwasher only when we were totally out of silverware; and I always felt just a bit on the edge of losing my mind in terms of how our house looked.
Once Forrest started sleeping (which meant I had free time to clean, read books, write, whatever), I started beating myself up for doing things like lying on the couch reading or going to bed early. I got a precious 4 hours every evening to myself--I should spend it being productive... at least, that was my thought process.
I gave up on forcing myself to be productive.
Here's the thing: I love being someone who is very self-motivated to learn and try new things. I love the fact that my anxiety drives me to be working nearly every hour of every day.
But sometimes, I need to be kind to myself too. When I'm feeling exhausted and just want to sit on the couch, that's ok.
Since August, I've struggled with weeks-long tension headaches and migraines (a super fun combination). I try to still get things done regardless of how my head feels, but sometimes, it's just harder. The floors go without being vacuumed; the windows haven't been washed in months; the dishes pile up in the kitchen. And that's ok. It's ok. I'll get to it eventually.
For me, forcing myself to be productive was a way of forcing myself to believe that if I don't do something right this moment, it will never happen. But the reality is: if you let things go (the floors, the dishes, the whatever), it's not the end of the world. They aren't going to be ruined. They'll live to see another day.
And if I allow myself to relax and do what I need to do, I will see another day too. I don't always have to be productive.