Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

The No-Fail Resolution

I am a woman of many words. Just ask my husband.

Usually this is a good thing, my ability to smooth out the awkward in conversations, to fill the page as a student, and to speak publicly with ease. But it can become a burden. I’m not just a talker you see, I’m a planner and a perfectionist.

New Year is like Mardi Gras for my type. We’re good at it.

We enumerate countless flaws and faults which NEED to be addressed immediately. We craft a lengthy list of high-minded goals and measurable outcomes. We paint a grand and glorious vision of our future (and yours).

In the beginning, this seems so productive, so motivational. In the beginning, it fills me with energy and hope. In the beginning, those words are perfect. And for a few brief moments, so am I.

Until I’m not.

The weight of all the words begins to drag me down. By mid-January my new expectations and obligations stop pointing the way and start pointing their fingers. Enter frustration, self loathing and complete surrender. In the long run, resolutions have done more harm than good for me.

New Year’s resolutions are like heroine for my type: thrilling, addictive and horribly self destructive.

A few years ago I discovered One Word 365. Participants choose a single word to represent the year to come. It is more of a mantra than a goal. A touchstone to focus, guide, and comfort on the journey.

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I still want to do all the things, to learn all the lessons, to make all the changes, to reach all the goals… but I don’t perform better under pressure, I perform worse.

In 2012 I traded my laundry list of resolutions in for the word “Dream” – a word I disliked at the time, but felt compelled to choose. That year I learned to take risks, to embrace creativity and to see hope and blessing when life was overwhelming. So many dreams came true that year, ones I had all but given up on.

2013 was the year of “Today.” I’m not sure I would have survived without this focus. It was the most overwhelming and challenging year of our lives for a number of reasons, which were exacerbated by ongoing lack of sleep. Jesus said that “each day has enough trouble of its own;” in 2013 it also had just enough joy, help and energy to get us through. Barely.

I’ve been praying, talking to friends, and weighing my options this year. “Sleep” seems unreasonably optimistic. “Write” appeals to me, but would undoubtedly become another guilty burden when we downshift into survival mode. Glen thought I meant “Right,” exclaimed he wasn’t surprised and had a good laugh at my expense.

Instead, my One Word 2014 is:

breathe

When I’m overwhelmed, reacting with emotion and outrage and the fearful certainty that this small frustration is the first domino in the complete breakdown of civilization as we know it… Breathe.

When life is happening all around me, precious memories coalescing before my eyes and the treasures of this unique moment hang heavy in the air… Breathe.

When I lock my keys in the car, run out of gas, lose the entire paper I JUST finished writing, publically embarrass myself (because, let’s face it, this stuff ALWAYS happens to me)… Breathe.

When I pray, when I dream, when I speak thoughts into words, when I need to expunge the poison and inhale the good… Breathe.

When I don’t have time for conscious prayer or true meditation, when I am drowning in my many words, when I need a physical reminder of my spiritual goal… Breathe.

So here’s my resolution. Barring death, I can’t possibly fail this year. What’s yours? If you had to pick one word for the entire year, what would it be?

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Starting Over

candycornI blame Chinese food. And Dairy Queen. And the bag of Christmas candy corn I found in my daughters toy box.

Because who can resist the siren song of stale, month-old candy?

Not me apparently. I devoured it like a junkie who happened upon a forgotten stash. It didn’t even taste good.

The only thing worse than stale, month-old Christmas candy corn is the guilt from eating stale, month-old Christmas candy corn.

So much for eating healthy this year.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all failure and embarrassing binges around here. Some days I win. But even then I have to watch myself. It’s stunning how quickly I can move from fatalistic self defeat to overconfident delusions of grandeur.

Case in point, the day I cleaned the house from top to bottom (withOUT eating anything I found along the way) and elypticalled myself to the moon and back. Feeling smug, I spent the rest of the day watching the Food Network while ignoring my children.

I don’t even like to cook.

So much for being a more attentive parent this year.

Soar or stumble – I can twist it into an excuse. To indulge. To give up. To sabotage myself. Time and again, it’s the one task at which I rarely fail.

This year I’m trying to change the game. I will focus only on TODAY. There is no tipping point. There is no pressure to be perfect. There is no tomorrow or next month or the rest of my life resting on what I do right now. There is only TODAY.

Thank you to Melanie at onlyabreath.com for the graphic!

I seem to function better without the weight of all that still-to-come. I still fill in the calendar and keep track of “things to do” and make plans for our family. I’m still mindful of the things I need to do better. But I only hold myself responsible for what I can get done between “Mama… up” (boy-speak for: wake up and pay attention to my cuteness) and “…but I’m almost done this chapter” (preteen-speak for: none of my friends have a bedtime so lights out is lame and besides I’m not even tired yet).

Some days it works. Some days there are temptations and trials and I slip back into worry-pressure-procrastinate-medicate-with-food/tv/Internet-hate-myself-STRESS. But even that isn’t the end of the world.

Every day I am starting over.

It’s only been a few weeks. The jury’s still out on whether I’m doing better or worse at: eating healthy, staying active, decluttering, being spiritually mindful, attentive parenting or solving the problems of the universe via blogging. But I did clean out that one toy box…

What I can say for sure is that I’m enjoying the sweet, fleeting moments of life better. I’m enduring the tough stuff with less angst. And most of all, I’m liking Me a whole lot more.

This is what I chose to focus on for the creative writing DPChallenge on Starting Over.

Hoos ll Family Portraits-41I’m not Who-I-Was.

I’m not Who-I-Will-Be.

I’m not Who-I-Expected.

Or Who-I-Dreamed-I-Would-Be.

I’m Me.

With new insights, and new struggles, and new dreams.

With a best friend who loves Me (better yet, still likes Me) after all these years.

With a heart full of four little people who make Me crazy, and make Me laugh, and make Me a better Me.

Changing and growing and learning and becoming Me.

With a little extra Me around the edges.

And even though those parts are the hardest to accept,

They are part of Me too.

Whatever size or shape or new configuration, I’m still Me.

I’m not Martha Stewart. I’m not Hiedi Klum.

I’m not You. I’m not Who-You-Think-I-Should-Be.

I’m not perfect or easy and I’m not ready to concede.

I’m not finished yet.

But for now, TODAY, I’m content to be Me.

So here’s me. You know that rumor about bloggers being totally self-absorbed… ummm… ya…


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