New Year Resolutions 2012
For many people a new year means a new start. Many people revel in the idea of a new beginning. Others, not so much. For many years I have been one of the those that make resolutions to exercise more or eat better or save money or….you get the idea. It’s great until about week 4 or 5 (if I make it that far!) when I just seem to run out of steam. Sometimes LIFE happens and i just don’t have the same desire or time to fulfill all the resolutions that I made. So, I thought of something different. How about a resolution to keep my resolutions? Does that seem redundant? How could I possibly accomplish this? Well, I think I need to make the resolutions personal, but make the resolution to keep them, public. (Does this make any sense?)
My reasoning behind this is if I make a resolution and don’t keep it, no one will know. However, if I make resolutions and put them out there for ANYone to see, then if I fail to accomplish my goals, SOMEone will know….and it will be another thing that I have failed to finish…(sometimes I wonder if I have ADD because I can take on a dozen projects at once, but can’t seem to finish any…I am getting better, but it is still a struggle!)
Anyway, this brings me (and you!) here. I am going on a journey of self-improvement…teaching myself to take control over my actions, my happiness, my future and my spiritual progression. Would you like to follow along?
Last night, as the clock was striking midnight for those in the Eastern time zone, I started to make a list of the things that I want to accomplish, keeping in mind my living situation, my time management skills (or lack of them) and what I felt was reasonable or manageable. Nothing like putting the bar high and setting myself up for failure (another tendency!)
So, without further ado, here is my list of 11 items that I plan to fulfill by the end of 2012:
1. Lose inches and tone muscle. I am currently 5’4” and weigh 138.4 lbs. My goal is to lose inches (with a weight loss of at least 10 lbs) and tone the muscle that I have. I plan to do this by eating plenty of vegetables, lean proteins and staying away from sugary/starchy items. I was born with a sweet tooth that has haunted me since childhood…and I plan to control the things that pass my lips. And for anyone that thinks this is not possible or thinks that it is too hard, I have to say that I decided one day to give up caffeine, and I did. I haven’t looked back.
2. Be more positive. I find myself some days with a scowl on my face that just won’t go away. I have no idea why, but it’s like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and I just can’t shake it off. I have always known that being happy is a choice. A person needs to change their mindset and view on the world to make a change within themselves. I firmly believe that by keeping an open mind and not rushing to judgements on ANYthing, will leave me in a better place mentally. I will then have the CHOICE to be happy or feel another emotion (sadness, anger, despair, etc.). I know that as I make the choice to be happy, I will find more joy in my life, in my responsibilities as a parent and be an example others can look up to.
3. Travel. I was bitten by the travel bug and have SO many places that I would like to see, hear and experience. It is hard on a limited income and with young children, for me to just “go” somewhere. I will take the opportunities to travel when I am given them but when I can, I will also take time to travel with my children. I feel that it is important for my children to experience other cultures, countries, foods and ethnicities. These are things that I am passionate about learning and I hope to share my experiences with my children as well. I believe that it is important if they are to become open minded, educated and well-rounded adults.
4. Fall in love! This has been a sore subject with me for a very long time and I have never understood the importance of a “traditional” family. I have been married before and I am now divorced…I have been for years. I’ve been independent for a long time and I’ve been perfectly happy being a single mother. I never saw myself as a SAHM; I wanted to work! It gave me time without my children and it kept me sane! I always had my own identity and I was never known as “so-and-so’s” mom. I was me and I liked it that way. Then I would be done work…I would pick up the kids from daycare, rush home, make supper, clean the house, bathe the children, put them to bed and flop on my bed exhausted from my second job as “Supermom”. No wonder I was stressed out! I’m feeling the stress just remembering my life back then! March 2011 brought a HUGE change for my family. We experienced the loss of our home to a fire. The contents to our townhouse were severely smoke damaged and although there a few things were saved, the majority of it needed to be replaced. A move to a new town closer to family and long-time friends, brought a speck of light into my (at that time) dull existence. Making this change more for my family than myself was my intent, but really do things ever work out the way we plan? After many years of on-again, off-again religious activity, I made the choice to regularly attend meetings for the benefit of my children. I had resigned myself to thinking that I would never again partake of the sacrament or hold a calling or ever set foot in a temple again. Although I was reluctant to make certain changes within myself, I came to realize that if I wanted my children to grow up to be respectable people with righteous desires and attitudes, I needed to be that example for them. I needed to show them that not only did I believe the things they were being taught, but that I was willing to reflect those teachings in my life. We have a great Branch President…he gets you to do the things you never thought you would do, without you really even knowing it! His gentle suggestions, combined with my guilt for being a prodigal daughter of God, got me on the path that I am on now and I have made significant changes in my life over the past nine months. Once I started doing what my Branch President asked me to do, I couldn’t stop…I didn’t want to. It felt so good to be on that path, but so hard also. I have been blessed financially so that I do not have to work outside the home. After spending the last 9 months at home with the children, I can’t even imagine not being there for them when they come home from school. I understand the importance of one parent at home. Looking around me I realize that everything I ever wanted was what I was taught years ago. I want to have a forever family. I want to be sealed in the temple. I want a companion who will help me raise the children in righteousness and help me teach them all the things that I am re-learning. A few of the members in the branch are of great support to me and the missionaries we had were a huge blessing…but I know the responsibility to teach them is mine and I know I needed help. For the first time that I can recall, not only do I need someone beside me, but I actually want someone with me. And I know that whomever Heavenly Father has for me, he is an amazing person.
5. Genealogy and Temple work. I have names submitted already and work that I have started, but now I need to update what I have and submit the new names so that the work can be done. Also, I want to do my first sealing.
6. Take more pictures! My kids are growing fast and because there are 4 of them, my time is split doing so many things! I need to stop and take the time for more pictures before they are all grown up and I forget what they were like.
7. Start a “Happiness Jar”. Take the empty peanut butter jar that we have and maybe decorate it (great project for the kids!) and every day (or week) write down something that made me happy. Whether it is an anecdote of one of the children or an “A-ha!” moment, write it down and put it in the jar. Then when I am having a hard day or feel like life kicked me in the head, I just need to open it up and read a few to get myself back on the path to happiness. I have done this before and it worked as a great visual when I could start to see it filled up, reminding me of all the things I have to be grateful for.
8. Kill them with Kindness. I don’t remember where I heard this phrase, but the idea is simple. Be kind to everyone I meet, in all different situations. Do a good deed weekly. Find a positive twist to any situation. One missionary I know used to always get into trouble as a child/teen (even as an adult!) and all he did was smile. When someone frowned at him or made a rude remark, he smiled…didn’t let someone else’s attitude bring him down. What a great example of strength! Imagine if I did that? Every day? People would want to know what I’m smiling about…what makes me happy. What a great way to share with them my secret to happiness!
9. Learn Something New. This could be learning how to play a hymn on the piano, or a new cooking technique. It could be trying a new food that I never thought I would like. Or maybe teaching myself how to use a photo editing software! Trying to learn something new every day may seem overwhelming, so I am going to try it weekly. By making goals that are reasonable and manageable, I cannot fail.
10. Organization. Keep my home and my life in an organized manner so both will run efficiently. Make my house a home and truly make it a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory and order so that it is a house of God.
11. Fulfill My Calling to the BEST of My Ability. So, this last resolution has a few parts to it. One is my church calling. Just before Christmas I was asked to accept a calling as the Branch Music Director….to which I readily agreed! I am SO excited to do this and I have so many ideas that I don’t know where to start! I need to make sure that I am prepared every week and that includes prayerfully choosing the hymns for sacrament meeting. I also want to be able to increase my understanding of the scriptures and of gospel doctrine. I will do this by taking time each night (after the kids are in bed!) to study the lessons for the next week and take notes on questions, thoughts and feelings to share with the class when appropriate to do so.
Second is my calling as a mother. When it comes to my children I need to relinquish a teeny tiny bit of the control that I have and start saying “Yes” a little more, as long as it is something manageable and reasonable. Once a month I will make something for my children that they can take to school and share with their friends and classmates. Whether it’s hair clips, cake pops or cookies…make them feel special and appreciated by their peers. I also need to keep teaching my children the principles of the gospel and encourage them to choose the right. Family home evening is going to be more of a regular thing that I can prepare for on Sunday nights.
Third, my calling as a Daughter of God. I need to be what my Patriarchal Blessing tells me I am. Not hiding the qualities and traits I have been blessed with, but rather exemplify the generosity of my Heavenly Father by being who He made me to be. I have been told I “have every characteristic of noble womanhood, the ability to nurture, to strengthen and to teach by the power of the Spirit….Through the qualities of your heart and spirit you will be an influence for good amongst your fellowmen, a light on a hill, an example of gentility, of love and of kindness and courage”. I know that as I perfect these qualities, my life will become easier to manage and the righteous desires of my heart will be fulfilled.
So, now where to begin?!? Well, this is the first post of many and although I aim to post a few times a week, I hope that you will follow along with me. Feel free to comment, provide words of encouragement, ask questions or leave helpful hints. I am very new to this whole blog thing and I know there are so many things I can do to make this “prettier”, so if you can help I would appreciate it!