The Way I Will Live My Life In 2013

Ah, a new year.


There’s so much possibility, so much optimism each January 1.

And I eat that stuff right up. You can be all, “I’m sick of all the talk of resolutions and who cares about the new year?” Well, I do. I’m psyched about whatever 2013 has in store and, naturally, I’ve got a few goals — life plans, really — to go along with my perfectly clean slate.

The sunrise on December 31, 2012. A gorgeous end to the year.

Now you may recall that I didn’t do super hot with my 2012 resolutions, mostly because a lot of them were really dumb and things I wasn’t at all passionate about.

I may not have taken a dance class, made my Yoga to the People debut or done laps on a “real” track, but I did cook a few things, I got a new doctor (hooray!) and I held a 5-minute plank a few times. I ran across the Queensboro Bridge and I achieved my sub-4:00 marathon goal with minutes to spare.

In 2013, I resolve to post more marathon photos. I mean…you’re welcome. Really.

Per Brian’s request, I biked a 40-mile ride (and then some…plus a Century Ride…and I crashed my bike…but whatever) and made my way into a knife skills class. I stopped using the word “stress,” mostly out of sheer mockery, and I stuck by my refusal to cook saffron risotto because, come on…that’s a moronic request. Sorry, Bri.

Tyler and I feel the same way about advanced cooking. We think it’s ridiculous and Brian makes us cry.

Most importantly, I didn’t let people make me feel badly about my life decisions, and that’s a trait I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life.

With that, here are a few things I hope to achieve in 2013.

I will stop grinding my teeth. Some people drink. Some smoke. Some run ultramarathons. My vice? I clench my jaw and grind my teeth constantly. I never even notice I’m doing it until, in my sleep, Brian elbows me and mumbles, “Stop grinding.”

This became an actual issue back in May. I was in Charlotte for my best friend’s wedding when I realized I could barely open my mouth. That is a tragedy for someone who loves to talk and eat.

I remember trying to eat a green apple (pre-burpfest, naturally) and wanting to cry. I thought maybe it was just joint pain in my jaw coinciding with the Crohn’s flare-up I was enduring (such a beautiful time in my life), but the pain hasn’t gone away. So that’s probably not great. And I vow to fix this sad issue.

Watching “Friends” while trying to eat an apple with a broken jaw. It was a time of many conflicting emotions. I wanted to laugh and cry and eat and it all felt SO HARD.

Now, should I get a lime green mouth guard for bedtime or an orange one? Maybe something with LED fixtures or glitter?

I will fix my pathetic posture.

This is pretty much how I always sit. See how my shoulders curve forward? And I’m not “engaging my core?” Also notice my hat. It was a Christmas gift from Brian. It’s an alpaca hat. He bought it as “a joke,” but now the joke is on him because I’m wearing it EVERYWHERE.

It’s so, so bad. You should see me at work, slouching like a hunchback. I sat on an exercise ball at my desk for a while, but that was less about my saggy back and more because I wanted six-pack abs without doing any work.

Here are some exercises I can do to get stronger, as demonstrated by Tyler, who is working toward his Baby Pilates Instructor Certification:

Curtsy squats. We’re mostly focusing on barre work here, people.
Forward lunges. Just be gentle if you have bad knees.
Side lunges. These are good for your inner thighs, whether you are a baby or an adult.
Basic demi pliés at the barre.
And if you’re feeling flexible, splits.

I will do a fishtail braid. Either on myself or on someone else. Any volunteers?

I will go to the Museum of Modern Art.

I will go to the Guggenheim. How shameful that for an entire year I lived on the same street as the beautiful, round museum and never stepped foot inside. I did try to use the bathroom in there once, but it wasn’t open yet.

I will learn to look both ways before crossing the street. It’s scary how often I almost get hit by cars in this city. One time I was walking to lunch with a coworker and I actually did kind of get clipped by a taxi. And it was completely my fault. I’m just not so great at paying attention. I’m not even texting or anything. I’m just oblivious to traffic and cars. I’m also a risk-taker.

I know to look out for oncoming runners and cyclists, but cars I don’t quite notice.

I will carry a lighter load. The bag I bring to work every day weighs more than Tyler. I don’t even know what’s in there. Gym stuff sometimes? Maybe a Shake Weight? I need to downsize at least for a while. Perhaps that will help my posture?

I will use my crock pot. My mom gave me a cute mini crock pot last year and I haven’t touched it. I don’t even know where it is, but I’m pretty sure it’s here somewhere. And in 2013, I’m totally going to use it…for storage.

I will cook spaghetti squash. I’m probably going to regret this “resolution.” Why do I always make cooking goals? I mostly just want to make it so I can justifiably refute all the people who tell me “it tastes just like regular pasta.” Fools. Maybe. I’ll find out.

I will spend more time outside my comfort zone. This pertains to all aspects of life: work, running, relationships, getting back on my bike, etc. I love being comfortable and I’m not so great at pushing myself, especially physically. But a little known fact is that you don’t become a faster runner, for example, by running slowly all the time.

The Reservoir is nice…but I should probably go around it faster.

I will run with faster friends. Because let’s get real, I’m not motivating myself to do speedy Reservoir laps these days. So when I eventually figure out what sort of races I want to do this year, I’ll also be enlisting some of my favorite NYC friends for a little assistance. You just do your runs, girls. I’ll try to keep up. I look forward to looking at all of your cute butts.

I will be kind. There are times to be cutthroat — like when you want a raise, a promotion or a PR. But shoving someone out of my way on the sidewalk isn’t helping anyone and definitely isn’t making me a better, more likeable person. It’s hard to stay calm on public transportation, but it seems silly to get so worked up over a stalled downtown 6 train.

Tyler, you make me want to be a better person. Why is that? Oh right, because I don’t want you growing up and hearing about “all the bad things Auntie Ali did in her past.”

I will spend less time online. It’s sickening to think about how often I’m checking my email, monitoring my Facebook news feed or scrolling through Twitter. And why? Lately the majority of what I witness online just makes me upset or angry.

With that, I will drastically revise my Google Reader subscriptions and Twitter follow list. I read way too many blogs and I dislike many of them. I started reading many of them a few years ago when I first discovered “healthy living blogs,” and I have just kept reading even though I feel I have little in common with many of these young women.

I like reading blogs that inspire and motivate me. I like to follow people on Twitter who have something valuable (or just entertaining) to say.

I’d like to clean out the blogs I don’t care about anymore and add ones with cool, fresh content that excites me.

Also, I will no longer hate read. I fully admit that there are blogs I read solely because I think they are crazy. But doing that is a waste of my time, it makes me too negative and it’s just a little bit mean. So anything that I don’t genuinely enjoy reading won’t be included in my daily must-read list. I think that’ll be good for everyone.

Noticeably absent from my resolution list? Specific running-related goals.

CENTRAL PARK, I LOVE YOU! I just don’t really know what to do with you right now. Go fast? Go slow? Go short? Go long? Go to brunch instead?

At this time, I have absolutely no idea what I want to do about running in the new year. I’ve loved doing minimal running over the past few weeks, only lacing up when I’ve wanted to, and going Garmin-free. I ran 12 miles a few days ago — you know, symbolic of 2012 and stuff — and it was a perfectly snowy day in NYC. It was fun and I liked not having to worry about splits or distance or fueling or ice bathing.

Push-up ending to the run = time for taking pretty snow pictures.

Whatever I choose to do in 2013 with regards to running, I just want to keep enjoying it.

Look how pretty! Just like you. Aw.

And because it’s a new tradition or whatever, Brian gave me his list of “Ali’s 2013 Resolutions.” I present it to you now, with commentary:

Don’t stress over the things you can’t change. Uh, Brian? I already acknowledged, just yesterday, that I totally nailed this in 2012. Do you not agree? “You’re getting better at it,” Brian says. “But I think that in 2013, you can be a pro at it.” Well that’s sweet. Only not. I sense a condescending tone.

Stop putting things in every corner of the apartment. You can put stuff in one corner instead. Oh YAY, you guys! I get a whole corner! Lucky me! As long as we’re splitting the rent here, I get all the closets and all the floor space. When I read this one, I said the F-word to Brian, and I don’t feel badly at all about that. It was a rational response.

Run just to have fun. “Don’t be so like…I have to run this morning. I’m so whatever if I don’t run! I’m an asshole if I decide to sleep in! Just run…cuz it’s cool.” I date Brian mostly because he’s so eloquent with his words. But yeah, I’m on board with this, as stated above. We’re on the same page, dude.

My favorite spot in Central Park.

Bike again. No thanks. Brian says: “Just do it.” Like Nike. Got it. But nah.

This is not so appealing to me.

Be nice to yourself. “You’re an asshole to yourself most of the time. You need to be f—ing nicer to you. Which I feel, in turn, may end up making me happy, too! So it’s a win for everybody. But mostly you. Be good to you. Don’t be an asshole. Treat yo self…better.” Again, being a wordsmith. Maybe I’ll work on this one, though. I guess it’s not a terrible idea. I am a lot nicer to other people than I am to myself.

That’s all I’ve got!

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT? What are your New Year’s Resolutions, if you’re making any this year?



42 Responses

  1. First of all – Tyler’s demo is the best thing I’ve seen all day. Fabulous! and Funny!

    Second of all – there is no second of all.
    Happy New Year!

  2. I have a fitted mouth guard for teeth grinding! You’ve probably seen it on the bathroom sink because I’m rude and forget to put those things away when I have company over. A few of my resolutions is to call my family more, track my spending on, make fresh pasta with my new kitchen tool, and make 2 new (not marinara) pasta sauces. I’d also like to make more running plans in advance….perhaps overlapping with your running resolution? I’ll wear spandex 🙂

  3. Happy New Year! Great resolutions…I’m excited to hear how the spaghetti squash myth turns out. I totally agree with you on the less time on the internet and “hate-reading” things just for the sake of judging. I wanted to be a little more tangible about the goal so I decided to read a book a month…perhaps not significant for some, but for me, it’ll be a challenge!

  4. What I love about this list is that it follows a nice little theme: simplify! I’m trying to do that in a HUGE way this year, and not just simplifying blogging/blog reading either — but in all areas of my life. I love that you are veering the same way 🙂

  5. I would recommend going to a dentist for a fitted retainer. I grind my teeth in my sleep too, and didn’t realize it until I couldn’t open my mouth because it was too painful!

    Also, for the spaghetti squash, try it with a bolognese sauce and lots of parmesan cheese! It’s not the same as pasta, but tasty!

  6. Great resolutions Ali!! I grind my teeth and clench my jaw when I’m really stressed out and have tried to pay closer attention to that too since I only really notice it when my face starts to hurt haha. I love Brian’s idea of being nicer to yourself, I think I’ll include that one in mine as well. Happy New Year!!

  7. Love the resolutions! I have a few of my own, one of them being to learn how to knit. Also, just a FYI, you can cook spaghetti squash in the microwave. Its not as fancy as baking it with olive oil and gralic or whatever, but its definitely a lot easier!

  8. I absolutely love you attitude Ali. I agree, I find many things on the internet to be negative and make me feel bad about myself. I too am cleaning out my google reader. There are a lot of blogs out there that are just not positive for me, so I need to stay away. But I always read yours – love your sense of humor!

  9. Great post- I like how you kept the resolutions simple which is also one of my aims this year after spending most of 2012 beating myself up for not sticking with “the plan”. You know what sometimes plans just suck…go with it.

    I def agree with stopping reading things you don’t enjoy- I noticed this recently- I regularly log in to a work specific forum and it just depresses me but its like I can’t say no…well this year its all about the No!

    Have a great new year and happy running!

  10. Spaghetti squash most certainly does NOT taste exactly like pasta, but it is tasty and not that hard to prepare. You can do this one! Happy New Year.

  11. I’m a fan of your tangible goals — the fact that you’re not all ‘I’m gonna lose weight,’ or ‘I’m gonna be the fastest’, but instead, list things like cook with a certain ingredient or simply to be nicer (a near impossibility in NYC). This year, my resolution is to stop dressing like I’m homeless and to blow dry my hair. Last year it was to accessorize, so I think I can manage these new additions. I think.

  12. Happy New Year Ali, Brian and of course, cutie Tyler!

    Hey, if you find a solution or have suggestions to item 1 (teeth grinding), let me know – I’ve the same exact problem and my mom puts it down to stress.

  13. Brian’s resolutions for you sound pretty much exactly like things Andy says to me ALL the time. It’s funny because I am so different than you (not at all type A, sit around and do nothing at all and never make to-do lists) but for the big things (like stressing over things we can’t control, beating ourselves up) we are very similar.

  14. I hate teeth grinding! I clench my jaw at night and have woken up not being able to open my mouth too… worst feeling ever! Night guards are apparently a cure…

  15. I have a list of them, be a great mom, nurture my relationships, focus on happiness And health, be smarter about money… I also want to be smarter in general so I think reading something more advanced than Harry Potter might be in order. And go to sleep earlier. 🙂

  16. Loved both yesterday’s and today’s posts! Dont worry, there’s so many of us there with you. I can relate on so many topics. Thanks for sharing the yearly round-up, and goals!

    Happy 2013!

  17. Posture: It’s my nemesis! I am tall and spent about 20 years of my life trying to be shorter. Since I started Pilates and getting monthly massage I have found that the trick – besides engaging the core – is to stretch out the chest muscles. I wish I would have known that about 10 years ago. Mine is getting better, but still working on it.

    I haven’t quite figured out all my resolutions, if I even have any. I think I’ll get a tattoo. That’s enough. haha

  18. I love making goals at the beginning of the year. I actually completed all of my goals (except running a marathon…but I’m 16 weeks into an 18 week training plan and running my first in 12 days so that almost counts) in 2012. Your goals are great, but my two favorites are slimming down your reader and stopping hate reading. I need to do both of those. You’re so right that reading people’s blogs because they annoy you is a waste of time. I’m looking forward to following along with you again this year. And I’m excited to hear about your plans once you do decide what you want to do with running this year.

  19. Social media is nice but it takes to much time.

    One day last year i brought the people i follow on twitter back to 50 and i don’t let myself go over and now i can do twitter in like max 15 minutes a day.

    Also i try not to check facebook more then once a day.

    have a great 2013

    1. Trying to wean yourself off George? Go COLD TURKEY. I quit smoking two years ago. Haven’t touched a butt since. Lost 15 pounds last year. Put back on 5. LOL. Cut out ALL social media! I am off the grid boys and girls! You’ll have to find me in real life! Or over work email if you work with me… but I work in a company with 20 people, so you probably don’t. Get off the sauce, George. You can do it!

  20. This year I’m going to take advantage of every moment I’m living in this city. I don’t frequent museums nearly enough, and there are restaurants and bars and shows that I’ve been wanting to go to but never do- now is the time to make it happen.

    {Also, spaghetti squash is fine tasting, and ive enjoyed the times i’ve had it, but in no way is it fresh tagliatelle. }

  21. I second/third/etc. all suggestions about going to a dentist to get fitted for a night-bite guard. Worth every penny.

    I’m trying to make my “goals” more fun this year instead of just the usual “read more” so I’ve got “go for a hike” right next to the “focus on the positive things.” I think it will be a nice change to have things I can check off as I go instead of waiting to evaluate at the end fo the year.

  22. I like Brian’s resolutions! I used to suffer from anxiety/panic attacks. Finally with therapy I learned that I needed to stop getting anxious about things I could not control or change – I can only change myself and other things such as if I want to change my job, or change a habit. It’s just fruitless and a complete waste of energy to get anxious over things you have no control over – I know it is easier said than done but believe me, it can be done. You wouldn’t talk to your best friend or Mom the way you talk to yourself so why would you talk about yourself that way? I know that is a hard habit to break as well. I think Mr. Brian is a keeper:)

  23. I think this is the first year that I’m totally thriving on the optimism of a new year. The fact that it’s sunny today in London helps, but last week was really rough, and I’m relieved for a new day/month/year/etc!

    I finally figured out how to do a fishtail braid last year. It’s the only “fancy” braid I can do, and I’m utterly jealous of every single person who can do those braids on the side of their scalp up near their face (like that fancy technical description? Basically, I mean the ones you’re sporting in several of your race photos and I think your bridesmaid photo?) I used this blog post/embedded video, but I failed at first because 1. my arms got tired and 2. I was grabbing WAY too much hair, which just makes it a regular braid. I eventually learned the key is little strands, even though it takes forever (or I’m just impatient). Anyways, here’s the link!

    Also, you’re more than welcome to practice on my hair whenever I’m in NYC…I’ve got plenty of it!

  24. Happy New Year, Ali! I love all of these. I think my overall resolution is to be positive and surround myself with positive people and things. Easier said that done, but possible!

    Also my Dad has a Shake Weight that he legitimately uses “it’s a good workout!” if you ever want to borrow it…

  25. Happy New Year, Ali and Brian.
    You have some great resolutions – I like them lot. I am also very keen on resolutions, I have about 20 at the moment, but you made me add one..not to read a particular website any more. It doesn’t make me happy and makes me feel a little soiled, to be honest. So thanks. And if you’re looking for happy, positive new blogs, I know a great one…link above, haha.

  26. So many of these things are on my list! I too vow to also spend less time on the internet, stop hate reading forever (which I’ve mostly already done) and update my google reader. Additionally, I also hope to floss more, drink more green tea, and actually take advantage of the great things NYC has offer.

    Happy 2013, Ali!

  27. Two suggestions: for the grinding, go to a dentist and get molded for a specific one for your mouth. It’s a bit expensive, but it lasts longer and makes a big difference. Mine is hard plastic and is better with the amount of pressure I put on it. One time my mouth got so bad I couldn’t eat chirstmas dinner, which in my family is surf and turf – with the best filet imaginable. Devastating.

    For the posture: seek a chiropractor. The adjustments will help open up your joints and you can learn different stretches and exercises to help hold the right form. And bonus – it will probably ease some of your gut issues. Apparently my biggest spine issue is my top neck vertabrae which is the “feed and breed”; the nerves control all reproductive and digestive functioning. Coincidence??? Worth looking in to 🙂

    Good luck lady! Happy new year to you 🙂

  28. That last resolution of Brian’s made me smile—mainly because I can relate to it (and absolutely can hear my fiance telling me to do the same thing). Happy New Year, Ali!

  29. Tell Brian that the corner concept is used in my household–my S.O. dubbed it my “mystery pile.” Invariably when I can’t find something it has ended up there. Less chitchat about my clutter has been better for both of us.

  30. Get a night guard! I ended up breaking teeth by grinding at night and it was the worse Dr. appt ever to fix them! Not the most sexy accessory, but you won’t regret it!

    Happy New Year lady! Best to you always!

  31. Great post and goals for the New Year. I agree that smaller goals you WANT to accomplish (versus those you think you should) are the way to go!

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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