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Recalibration = Self Care

Recalibration is Self Care. Self Care is recalibration. 

To separate the two is not going to work, because the whole point of self care is to get yourself back on track… or at least on a track.

To recalibrate is to get back on track.


What does that really mean at the beginning of a year, when we’re setting new routines, habits, and goals that may or may not follow us into the rest of the year past the first three weeks.

It means that you have to know where you are in order to know where you’re going. 

The self work that I have been focusing on, mostly by accident, was that I needed to get my habits to work with me instead of against me. I needed to get some projects done, worked on, or at least get further than I was on January 1st.

I also moved 500 miles in October so that I could begin the next chapter. And when I say that I don’t totally know what it holds, I’m telling the truth. I had a dream that I was interviewing for a job in Nashville and I took it to mean that it was the next place after spending the last three years in Charleston, SC.

I learned a lot there, grew a lot, fixed a lot of things about myself, but I hadn’t quite figured out the magic juice to get myself doing all the things that I knew were good for me and when I’d managed to get all of them done on the same day, the next day was a special kind of fabulous. 

I decided that I was going to use the time that I had left in CHS to figure out what I could about habits and what kept them from sticking. And boy did I find a few gems. I realized that I wasn’t doing them in the right order. So the first month I was here, I was staying at a long-term AIRBNB (fabulous idea for those of you moving to a place you haven’t really been able to go, because then there are no contracts if the lease is not as expected) and fiddled with the order that I had. 

I pre-set up my new apartment with the idea that I would streamline as much of my morning routine as possible. I built a new desk with the intent that it would fully serve all my crafting and writing needs. Because that month of not having all my tools as easily accessed affected me more than I had planned. 

Hell, it worked though. I managed to write almost every day of November but I still managed to write a full 50K words (#NANOWRIMO). Then my hated season of the year started. 

Pre-Christmas and Christmas. Also known as Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is usually the time of year when I have to fend off all the questions and the pity that I’m not going home for the holidays. 

Honey, I haven’t gone home for Christmas since freshman year of college and that was only because the dorms were closed. Which meant there wasn’t going to be any food for me to eat. It was so nice this year having three people ask me if I was going home and starting to pity me. 

Only three.

The rest just nodded when I said no, and let me be. 

Ah, it was good. 

Then comes the realization, as I’m working on the next new topic–Forgiveness–that I had sacrificed this holiday because my family can’t even put aside our problems for this holiday and I wasn’t fighting it anymore.

I also gave up playing music for it too. But that’s for another topic. 

But I will say that for everything we’ve gone through this year, it has been for my good. I have grown in my faith, I have grown in my ability to communicate with my family. I have grown in my ability to not take to heart (most of the time) what they say that they don’t understand.

Finding the Track

The first thing of getting back on track is deciding what track you want to be on. Preferably one major thing at a time, though that’ll make sense later on down the page. 

Where do you want to be at the end of the year?
Where do you want to be at the end of the decade?
Where do you want to be at the end of the week?

And so on. This is where you find your mile markers. At each time that you do the recalibration, I recommend either resetting the mile markers from the last time you travelled this path, or starting from scratch.

The reason can be paraphrased from Alice in Wonderland.

I’ve been six different people since breakfast, who’s to say I was anything like I am now?

I think we forget that when we set the same goals every year, or at least without making the conscious knowledge of what we are aiming for. 

I have two goals on my list for the coming year that were on my list from last year (well there are others but for this example) that are the same as they were last year.

  • Write 365,000 words over the year AKA write a 1000 words a day.
  • Exercise 11,000 minutes over the course of a year AKA workout 30 minutes a day.

One of these is back because it was just enough to get me to do a thing and meet it. I don’t necessarily think that I need to increase the amount of time I workout a day, but I can be more intentional with what workouts I do during the next year.

My writing, though, that’s a difficult one to explain. This last year has been up after down and repeated all year long. Over the course of the year, I managed to get about half of the days with some writing in them. I created more than half of the word count I aimed for, so this next year is more about having the 365 notes with the words of the day in the file, less about the actual amount. I think I will easily make that if I sit down and actually write but you know, there does need to be the challenge aspect of it.

Getting Back on Track

This is the breakdown aspect of a goal into a dream with a deadline. The more details you have on this end of it, the more likely you’re going to reach this thing. 

ALSO, to the overthinkers that I know I attracted because like attracts like, there is a time to cut off your planning. Unless you’re artsy fartsy-ing it. Then carry on.

I like to see what I can scare myself with. Currently I’m looking at my year end goal of what I want to make because that’s what I need to make in order to make sure that all my goals are met. You know, like paying off student loans in full because I made the debt.

Though if the government wants to take them back and say nevermind, I ain’t going to complain. 

I finally, as I’m writing this, broke it into what I need to make each week, month, or even day in order to make my goal.

I also want to tell you that I was 20K smaller than it is now when I first started calculating things for the coming year because that number didn’t scare me enough. So I traded a 6 with an 8 that was already there. 

Is it scary? Is it possible?

Only if I don’t sit here on my ass and don’t write. If I fiddle away the time that I built in to write so that I can do things that are fun and fulfilling like going line dancing. 

This new year is all about recalibrating. About getting back to where we were when we had all the dreams and none of the disappointments that life has given us.

Staying on Track

This is the part that brings self care, and in that recalibration, in. I have gone through a lot of self work in the last year to find that I was not nearly as healthy as I thought I was. I realized that I was still enabling people because it was easier than picking a fight. It was easier to move to another state than to tell someone that I couldn’t live with them anymore because I was pushing myself to the side in order to not trigger them.

Which is shitty by the way. But I didn’t really like the way I was sharing how I was feeling, and you know, we’ll both be in better places not having the other’s poisons running around. 

But the thing about staying on track is to not throw out everything you’ve already done and starting from scratch. We do not need to reinvent the wheel here.

That is a massive waste of time. It’s already made, and it works as long as you keep the air in it.

My self care routine is a mix of things that I do daily to keep myself grounded (adult ADHD anyone?), weekly things I do to make sure that I am reaching the goals I set myself, monthly reviews that tell me what I really got taken care of and what I didn’t.

And let’s not forget my quarterly (ish) assessments that tell me if I am actually making the real progress I think I am. Also it asks the question if I still want to be on the track that I am on.

It’s having 3×5 cards that tell me which habit is next for the days my distraction level is so off the charts, I forget to make coffee.

Which is how I start the whole day, and deal with my distraction level.

It’s also about doing the things that keep me on track, forget anyone else.

It’s about having sugar-free kool aid for the times when I should drink water, but I want something tasty. It’s haranguing my coworkers for what toothpaste they use because I don’t like mine and I’m not brushing as often as I should. 

It’s taking my vitamins at night instead of the morning because I’ll be more consistent with them. It’s about counting your calories when logging them is a pain in the ass. But you know that if you don’t have real numbers you can’t counteract the things you’re doing and not doing. 

It’s eating the salad and all that damn red lettuce even if you don’t like the texture of it. Because you need to actually eat your veggies.

What does your Recalibration look like?

I dislike all the attention the phrase, ‘new year, new me’ gets. You are an accumulation of everything you’ve ever been and this seems to deny parts of yourself from what you have gone through. 

New Year, new direction has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? 

That whole sense of going along to somewhere.

But I’m reminded as I close my planner for 2020.

2020 Planner/Journal Stack
yes, that is a 5+” stack of paper for just 2020.

“Life is a journey, not a destination” is literally the front cover. 

Actions are what give you traction, not just dreams and a destination.

Simmer on that this week as you ring in the new year and all that it brings. 


J Joy

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