Happy New Year! It’s still January, right? Oh, it’s February already? MID FEBRUARY!?

Man, what a year so far. We kicked off the New Year in Japan with Aya’s family. We experienced the city, we soaked in the hot springs, ate fantastic food, visited with friends and had fun with family. The kids absorbed so much language and culture while we were there too! But all great trips have to come to an end. And just before the end, the day before we left, I got the flu. And then on the plane, Ellie got the flu. And when we landed and got home, Chloe got the flu. And after a few days of dealing with us, Aya got a bad head cold. And then she left for a week long business trip. Sooo, we spent the first two weeks back sick, miserable, jetlagged, cranky, and eating terrible. We went from going out to great restaurants eating fresh fish to eating Taco Bell on the couch. But finally, finally, that’s all over with and we are looking forward to a bright 2018! Well, at least trying…

Every year I get excited to have a fresh start to a new year. To let go of all the negative energy that I let cling to me over the past year. To wake up with purpose, determination, and focus. To reset my mind, refocus my goals, and tackle the new year head on. But also every year, without fail, I get sick. I start out the first few weeks of the new year mentally scattered, depressed that I’m not “crushing it,” unmotivated, and miserable. It’s a great way to start the year.

It’s almost comical when I look back at the past few years. Why do I keep repeating this cycle? Why do I keep thinking, “this year will be different, this year I’ll be successful,” but not change my approach. It’s like every year I vow not to fail, predict my failure, and then fail. It’s idiotic.

Why put all this pressure on January too? Michigan in January is depressing. Gray streets combined with gray skies. Days when there is no visual difference between 9am and 4pm. It’s the perfect environment to focus on happiness and productivity, right?

It’s not that I can’t keep or maintain a goal. I can do that. One year I gave up alcohol for the entire year. I succeeded and re-evaluated my social drinking habits. Another year I gave up fast food for an entire year that actually turned into three. And now I still keep away from it as best I can. But goals that make you look inside and rebuild yourself from the inside out, those are tougher. Skipping out on a few dollar burgers isn’t the same as focusing on yourself and facing your inner fears.

I’m very productive at home. I almost use that as an excuse though. I’m too busy to focus on me because I’m making special desserts or special dinners all the time. Nevermind the fact that I spend plenty of time stuck on the couch binge-watching the latest Netflix show. That’s “me” time. Yeah that’s it. Four hours on the couch watching TV in the middle of the day is definitely time well spent and nourishing to my soul.

I have no answers. No solutions. Eventually, I’ll settle into a numb but productive routine and be defeatedly complacent until the next “new year.” I don’t it, and I’m not okay with it. But that’s the reality of where I am.

Am I alone in my cyclical struggle? Do any of you plan to start the year fresh, only to feel squashed and defeated by the routine of life?

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