It’s mid-January 2020! How did that happen already?
How many of you made resolutions for this year? Started strong? Told yourself this year was going to be different?
I have been thinking a lot about what this year may bring. And to do that I have been spending time thinking about and processing what happened in 2019. It’s been almost a full year since my mother died and I stopped being the middle part of the sandwich generation. The last several years, I described myself as the jelly in the PB and J. The peanut butter clings to the bread and acts a bit like the glue while the jelly can ooze out. Sometimes it oozed out towards one side of the bread other times it oozed out towards the other side and when it was just oozing everywhere it was time to remember to breath and remember that “this too shall pass.” It’s different to no longer having my parents as anchors or touch stones. And in sitting in that difference, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I am going to do with the time I have left, what will be my legacy, how do I want to be remembered.
And as I have reflected, there are still lots of things that I want to do, I want to learn, I want to continue to become. And that has led me to think about how to do that. It’s the beginning of the year, the beginning of a new decade. Where do I want to be on December 31, 2020? How do I want to feel? And how am I going to get there?
Once I have those questions answered, it’s a bit easier to chose a word of the year. The past several years I have done just that and it has helped me re-center and recommit when I was feeling discouraged or stagnant. I have also learned that if I focus on a feeling or feelings that I want to have at the end of the year like strong, calm, empowered, joyful I am better able to establish habits or outcomes that will give me that feeling. Habits may include weight training 2 days a week to feel strong, a daily meditation practice to feel calm, tackling a project or learning a new skill to feel empowered, keeping a gratitude journal to feel joyful. When I am fearful, I think of my super hero (sometimes a real person, sometimes a fictional character) who embodies that trait I need to help me take the next step.
So, I don’t make resolutions anymore because I just ended up feeling guilty and like I didn’t have enough will power. But if I want to feel successful, I may make a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound) starting off with a small project like organizing the linen closet (because who didn’t stash a lot of stuff in there over the holidays when company was coming?) and then tackling a bigger project building on previous success. Another step towards getting to where you want to be is to declare it to someone who will help you be accountable. And lastly, here is a step that I just didn’t think I deserved to because I should just do it, but this step really helped me stay on the path and that’s reward yourself when you’ve completed something. Acknowledge and celebrate what you’ve done. Clean out the linen closet and do something that you think is fun. I keep a list of fun things so that I can chose something.
So, I want to circle back to my original questions… How many of you made resolutions for this year? Started strong? Told yourself this year was going to be different? If you are already feeling discouraged because you started and stopped or perhaps you never started because you couldn’t stand feeling overwhelmed or guilty or less than, I hope that this has given you a framework to do something different. Like Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Here’s to a year of doing something different towards being your best you!