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I sit here, on the cusp of a new year, reflecting on the one that passed and hoping in the one that is to come. It has been a little while since I wrote something new. I have a little dry-erase calendar in the kitchen and I have been writing 2018 on it for the last few months. 2017 was harder than I was prepared for it to be. I am the kind of person who is frequently, and perhaps a tish overdramatically, plagued by a kind of existential crisis, and this year seemed overflowing with them.
In an average year I am full of hopes and dreams for the coming year, writing up list after list of goals, accomplishing almost none of them. This year is no different, but the hopes and dreams and goals feel heavier, as it were, marred by a disposition of melancholy.
My biggest fault in the resolutions-making realm is that I often set high goals, and when it becomes clear that despite best efforts I will not meet them, I become paralyzed with inaction. Somehow, my brain reasons that it will be less of a hit to my pride if I just stop trying than if I give it my best and fail miserably. Somehow I have convinced myself that not trying isn’t failing, when truly it is much worse.
I need to set about this resolutions-making project with a balance of grace and firmness. I need to exercise fortitude when I feel compelled to give up, and I need to grant myself mercy when I have truly given it my all and have fallen short. Both will inevitably occur at varying points in the year.
A friend recently pointed out that we were both creatives that too often get stuck in our own heads, and when we do not act we feel defeated and unfulfilled. That sure explains some things. She wisely advised my goal for next year should be only to “Take Action.” Get out of my head. Stop thinking, and over thinking, and just do. And so, I am taking that prompting from the Holy Spirit and making it my motto next year, my theme, if you will. Take action. Balanced action. Fortitude tempered by mercy.
And so, I am still going to make all the lists and all the goals, but I am going to be realistic about them, and I am not going to give up because I am not perfect. I have broken down my pages of lists to one Main Goal for each category.
- Prayer — 45 Minutes of prayer each day. This might include rosary, Divine Office, Silent Prayer, Scripture. The specifics will be set maybe weekly or monthly, but the baseline is to get 45 minutes in each day.
- Reading– 30 Minutes each day. I will expand this to include a certain number of books, or probably a list of titles. But I am looking to leave room to add new books and granting myself mercy to stop reading one I am just not feeling.
- Writing– 15 Minutes each day. I will probably hit this with journaling that I assume will overflow into blog posts eventually. I also want to set blogging goals, but those will be very flexible.
- Parenting– Do one concrete act each day that exemplifies patience or compassion. This was the most difficult to narrow down to something concrete and measurable. I need to be a better mom, a patient mom. One who is present. That is going to look different each day, but I want to look back on each day and point to one action that was measurable. Some basics that this will include are: Reading everyday, teaching new prayers, actively trying not to yell, being silly.
- Exercise– 20 minutes of High Intensity exercise at least 4 days per week. I need to lose weight. I need to be healthy. But, I am a mom with a full time job and loads of other things I need to and want to do everyday. I am not going to make a crazy transformation. I am not going to be a power lifter or an athelete. I might not ever get back to 150 lbs but I cannot allow myself to be a slob anymore.
- Nutrition– Eat a vegetable. That is it. Just once a day. I have calorie defcit goals and protiein goals and those are sometimes harder to hit week in and week out, but I CAN manage to eat a vegetable everyday. And it is embarrassing that I have not been.
- Finance– Make a budget every month and stick to it. Obviously saving and paying down debt will factor into this, but things happen and the very least I can do is commit to a responsible budget each month to account for variance.
- Self Care– Most, if not all, of what I have outlined above is going to contribute to my self-care in spades, but the most detrimental thing is the amount of time spent on my smartphone. One concrete thing I can do everyday to combat this is to get off the phone 1 hr before bedtime. Everynight. I am going to look into setting some fasts and other rules about usage, but they will fluctuate.
Overall, these goals set out to accomplish one large thing in my life– Allow me to be who I was made to be, who God created me to be. I will be a better wife, mom, friend, and child of God by examining my priorities and taking action.