I know it’s a week into the new year and I’m just now posting this. This time I didn’t come up with these before the first. I thought about not aiming for any goals or resolutions this year, but, to tell the truth, I would have done it anyway in my head, so I might as well write about them. I know plenty of people who despise New Year’s resolutions. I get it, and it doesn’t bother me. Goals get me excited about the new year and keep me moving forward. Having them up in a public space keeps me challenged to not forget about them.
Thinking about what kind of things I want to aim for made me realize that it probably isn’t resolutions that I’m talking about. I’m not resolving to change who I am by sheer force of will like I have in the past. I don’t want to take on my big character flaws or the things that I dislike in myself. Resolutions often cloak our true motives. We say we want to lose weight, get back in shape, when what we really want is to look in the mirror and approve, even love, all of who we see there because it is easier to take care of a body that you like.
When I said that I wanted to spend more undivided time playing with my daughter, what I meant was that I wanted to set aside the selfishness in me that wastes those precious moments and to not feel the crushing mom guilt. When I said I wanted to finish my book this year, what I wanted was to figure out why I had never succeeded before and to stop seeing myself as a lazy procrastinator when it came to my writing.
Those resolutions to fix who we are through what we do, don’t often go far. A change of heart precipitates the evidence you see in your daily life. I’m not going to stress about heart changes. I know that if my focus is on God and I am walking with him, those changes inevitably follow, often in ways I do not expect. He’s working in my life; I see the evidence of it constantly.
So, I have put the resolutions my heart cries for in his hands. Instead I aiming for 8 pretty simple goals in 2018. Not necessarily easy but simple. They are changes in my habits or practices rather than changing me. They are things that I want, even need, but the verdict on my worth doesn’t depend on their success. That is a much easier place to work from.
- Improve my posture: Sitting straight and upright is foreign to me. I’m more into pretzel-like formations and slouching. This is less than fine for my alignment. Now that I have been through so much physical therapy and began new ways of moving, my bodily awareness is at an all time high. It keeps pressing on my notice how much better I feel when I align my body the way it was meant to be. This means rib cage stacked over hips, head on top of neck, pelvis even and straight, shoulders down and relaxed, back neutral not curved. Repetitive and constant correction is the best solution I have for now.
- Answer messages promptly: Sometimes I’m on top of this, but most of the time I am horrible about getting back to people. Emails, text messages, phone calls, social media – it doesn’t make a difference. I will read the message, blink, and two weeks will have gone by. Then the longer I leave it, the harder it is to answer when all I’ve got is, “I have no good reason for why I haven’t answered you before this but please don’t hate me.” I would like to make it a practice to answer all communications promptly. I am defining that as the first available moment. That means if I can text back as soon as I read it, then I do. If I need to think about an answer, then I keep it in the front of my mind, find the answer, and reply.
- Get my email inbox under control: Delete, unsubscribe, block – whatever it takes to stop the influx of messages that are irrelevant to my daily life. Everything you do online, every store card you sign up for, they all want your email so that they can inundate you with advertisements. Most of it I never need to see again. I tend to avoid my email (and thus inadvertently messages I do want to answer) because the sheer amount of clutter waiting to be sorted through makes logging in feel like pandora’s box. It should be, and used to be, a good way to get a hold of me. I’d like to clear the mental space reserved for avoiding that mess by taking care of it with a system that makes it easy to manage. This will make the previous goal easier to accomplish.
- Get rid of 2018 items: This one is purely for the fun of it if you consider decluttering an exciting past time. I saw it on a minimalist blog and thought “I’ll never make it, but it’d sure be hilarious to watch me try.” No way do I expect to meet this goal unless I can count every piece of paper I recycle, in which case, I will meet that goal in the first three weeks. If it wasn’t for the fact that I collect clutter like a squirrel hoarding for winter time and that I got rid of an astonishing amount of stuff for me last year, I might have picked my own more realistic number. In this case, I think it’s far better to have a number I’ll never hit and have the fun of tracking how many items I ditch.
- Limit social media time: Not everyone needs to do this. I do. When I’m on social media, I want to be getting something out of it instead of mindlessly scrolling through things I don’t care about. And I definitely don’t want that mindless scrolling to be distracting me from the life in front of me. I want to be present in each place. This time around I’m taking a more pragmatic view. It’s not a judgment on who I am as a parent or a person. Just a limit for my peace of mind. The first try involves timers and prerequisites. If that fails, I’ll come up with something more drastic.
- Finish books off my shelf: Before we moved and our beautiful library got packed into storage, I grabbed several stacks of books that were sitting unread or partially began on our shelves. They found their new home on a much tinier shelf all alone in the hopes that they would be first pick when I wanted something to read. Now, it would be silly to think that I won’t buy new books or borrow them from friends. I already have and it’s only the first week. But, by Christmas I had already got through 4 books off my finish shelf, so there is hope. Taking them off my “to read” list felt particularly satisfying. We’ll see how many I have left by the end of the year or if I have acquired more!
- Finish 3 craft projects: The amount of unfinished projects I have sitting around is ridiculous. Well, technically most of them are sitting in storage at the moment. I’ve done two big purges of my craft supplies and passed loads of items on to people with more time and crafting ability than me. I’m attempting to narrow it down to what I will/want to actually finish. That will probably call for several more rounds of sorting once I get it all back. For now, I just want to finish three projects. Don’t care which ones or how big or small.
- Finish my first book manuscript: It’s making the list again but in a way that doesn’t feel like a desperate effort to be what I already am: a writer. There is a plan in place for this which is not something I could say before. Just having that makes it seem more doable. By no stretch of the imagination though do I think this will be easy or fast. I’m still working on deadlines, but I do have support, encouragement, and people bugging me about it – all of which will help tremendously.
Here’s to a successful 2018!