I love to plan. Give me a stack of scratch paper and a fistful of colored markers and I am in my own little geek heaven. Other people pack for trips; I glue maps into notebooks, create timelines and research locally owned coffee shops. A good weekend is one that begins with a planning session over the first cup of coffee. I get as much joy from making the weekly menu and shopping list as most people do from cooking. I spend more time online researching and downloading planning apps than I do playing games.
Please don’t assume this means I am organized. It’s the planning itself that makes me happy. Once done, I close the app, recycle the paper or start the car and go merrily on my way.
Sometimes I work the plan. Sometimes I ditch it completely. Most times I carry it with me, refer to it when I need to. More scaffolding than outline. A guideline.
But most of all, it is a chance for me to manage my anxiety about the future, be it a week of meals, a 2,000-mile road trip or a new year. I jot down the possibilities, ponder what might go wrong with each one and consider what can be done to keep the worst from happening. As an enneatype six, I am a worrier; I seek security. Planning makes me feel secure.
And so last night, New Year’s Eve, saw me sitting at my kitchen table with paper, markers and a drink, planning out my next year. Where did I want to get? What was I worried would happen? What was I afraid I would do (or fail to do) to screw it all up? And finally, what habits did I need break or create to make sure that didn’t happen?
And – ta da!—resolutions.
This year I am trusting myself a bit more. I didn’t feel the need to anticipate every problem. I am not trying to fix every flaw. I am trusting that if I keep myself healthy and centered I will be able to do what needs to be done. So it’s the daily things I am concentrating on: eating breakfast and doing yoga. I am recommitting to practicing gratitude and centering prayer. I am going to listen to my heart and my body a little more. And most importantly, I am going treat myself with compassion and kindness and I try and fail and try again.
That’s the plan. But my planning doesn’t guarantee security, any more than my resolutions guarantee success.
As Colleen Wainwright, the Communicatrix, says in her 2009 New Year’s video, the answer is not resolutions, promises or hacks. (Warning: Very NSFW language, but if you can handle it, it is a priceless reminder)
Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to push some boulders.