Thursday, January 7, 2016

3 Ways to Embrace the New Year without Making a Resolution

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, which is odd considering my great love for to-do lists, but I tend to live by the motto "if I'm not going to be spectacularly successful at something, then why even bother doing it?" This is something I'm working through.

Goals are not a bad thing and I've made them in the past. When I was in middle school I made a list of all the characteristics I hoped to find in a future husband, including such deal-breakers as He must be at least 6 feel tall and His last name must be at the beginning of the alphabet (my maiden name began with W and DANGIT I was sick of being called last for everything!) Several years down the road I landed a 6' 3" dreamboat and added an 'H' to my monogram. I'm not saying it was all due to my teenage requirements, but probably. Thank goodness for goals because I could have ended up married to 5 foot 10 inch man named Wilson and that would have been a disaster.

Every year I feel like I should make resolutions, but every year I put it off til January 3rd or so and by then IT'S TOO LATE because everybody knows you can only have resolutions if you start them on January 1st. (This is something I'm working through.)

But this year, in the spirit of fresh starts and middle school husband requirements, I made a list of New Year's Resolutions:

1. Read at least 20 books without pictures

2. Watch all my DVR'd shows, even those episodes of CSI that have been there for 3 years

3. Stop eating dinner over the sink and also lose 12 pounds

4. Make it through the whole year without hitting the house with my car 

5. Pee without an audience

Now it is January 7th and I have already failed at #3 and #5 and I'm sure my bumper will have a fresh new gouge come February and WHO AM I KIDDING RESOLUTIONS ARE A BUNCH OF CRAP so please pass the Krispy Kremes.

The truth is, at this season of my life, I don't have the energy to strive to become a smarter, skinnier, better version of myself. Quite frankly, I don't have time. I feel like I need to have another baby just so I can watch some TV. Managing dinner and bills and permission slips is difficult enough without tacking on organizing the closets or cutting out sugar and, honestly, if I stop eating over the sink I might starve. 

At least I didn't resolve to keep the house clean.
Do resolutions make you crazy? Are you in a season that requires more grace and fewer goals? Instead of making our lives "better", can we simply recognize the beauty and perfection that exist in the harried, imperfect lives we already have?

This year, as an alternative to resolutions, here are 3 ways we can embrace the new year. 

1. Join the #onebeautifulthing Instagram challenge 

Instagrammers are coming together weekly to "look for beauty in the nitty gritty of everyday life. It’s in the piles of laundry waiting to be washed. While most of the time people look at that as a huge chore and something to put off, instead, look at it as an opportunity that your family is together and home and spend time praying for each child as you wash, dry, and fold the clothes." Also, there will be winners and prizes so GAME ON, erm, I mean let's get going on that beautiful laundry. 

Find more info on #onebeautiful thing here.

2. Make a "101 Things in 1,001 Days" List

Whoa. I know. That's a lot of numbers and I hate lots of numbers unless they're in my bank account. But don't worry, the 101 Things are FUN things that you actually want to do, no cleaning out closets here! Instead you might decide you want to take a cake decorating class or reread a book series or plan a Mediterranean cruise with a dashing Italian tourguide named Alessandro. (Oh come on, everybody wants to do that last one.) And the best part? You've got 3 YEARS to get it done! 

The Lazy Genuis explains more here.

3. Choose One Word for 2016

Someone wrote a whole book about this very thing, but obviously since it has no pictures I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Thankfully there is a website! "'My One Word' is an experiment designed to move you beyond the cycle of broken resolutions. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future."

So this year I will be instagramming beautiful things (because Instagram is my latest obsession and you should totally follow me so you can see pics of my laundry), I will be making a list of fun things (because lists are my favorite) and I'll be focusing on the small things.

My One Word I have chosen for this year is 'small.' Small is not very glamorous or poetic or inspiring, but it's just what I need right now, because in a society where bigger is better, it's oddly refreshing to turn my attention to the small.

Small tells us to notice the beauty in that laundry pile. Small says to write because you love it, not because thousands will read it. Small says that it's the mundane acts of packing lunches, driving carpool, and reading one more bedtime story that build on each other to create a life of stability and joy. 

One day there will be time for clean closets and quiet meals and even locked bathroom doors. There may even be room for big things one day - ambitious goals have their place too - but even if not, we can be faithful in the mundane; we can show up everyday for the people that need us - our children, our partners, our friends, even strangers. And isn't that the mark of a great life anyway?

This year I will be focusing on doing small things with great love. So if you need me, I'll be here, hanging with all my small people...taking pics of the laundry pile.

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