New Year

There are a few hours left until the new year. Depending on where you are in the world, it might already be 2018.

I have never been the type of person to put much significance into dates, but I love the idea of a clean slate. I love that each year can bring something new and exciting. I have grown so much in the past few years that I’m not sure what’s left to work on. I know that I can and will continue to improve, but there’s nothing I feel I specifically need right now. I have had years of learning and improving in areas like forgiveness, love, patience, strength, faith, and hope. Now, I feel like this year can be less about improving and more about doing.

I want to get a new job. I want to make new friends. I want to find new ways to serve and help others. And I want to do more. I want to love more. I want to serve more. I want to do more in my callings at church. I want to do more with my friends. I want to do more with my family. I want to do more crafts and read more books and make more art. Now that I have improved mentally and physically and emotionally, I feel like it is time to just be everything I have become and more. This will be my year to do.

What is this new year for you?

A New Resolution

People have been asking me over the past week what my new year’s resolutions are. Up until this point, I have been in survival mode. I wasn’t thinking about the year… I was simply trying to get through the day. But today, the dust seems to have finally settled, and I discovered the one thing that I really want to do this year.

I simply want to be myself.

I spent so much of last year being sick, either physically or mentally, that I just couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. I couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t exercise or play sports. I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t do little random acts of kindness. I couldn’t help around the house. I did some of these things anyway, but it took everything out of me.

This year, I want to enjoy being me. I want to go running just because I feel like it. And I want to talk to new people at church. I want to bake a cake and make cookies and get dinner ready, just for fun, just because I can. And I want to wash dishes and do extra laundry loads and vacuum. (Oh how I want to vacuum!) I just want to be able to do all the things my illnesses prevented me from doing.

You don’t really realize how precious those things are until you lose them. Having depression made me miss exercise so much. Breaking my thumb made me miss simply being able to tie my own shoes. Having anxiety and depression made me miss just being able to have a normal conversation with someone. And my health issues and depression made me miss being able to maintain a clean house.

So, though it may not seem like much to an outsider, I am excited to be able to do the normal stuff this year. And my resolution is simply to enjoy doing it because I have waited so long for this moment.

A New Year

It’s a relief that 2016 has ended. It hasn’t been the worst year for me. In many ways, it was one of the best years. But it was also one of the hardest years. I suffered a lot, but I gained a lot of reassurance and realized how strong I can be.

Still, this new year, my resolution is simply to do hard things. Life can be hard, and right now, dealing with insurance and appointments and changing jobs is hard. I don’t know what 2017 will bring, but I know I’m committed to pressing on.

This past year was so draining. I feel like I don’t have much left to give anymore. But… It’s a new year. It’s a chance for new beginnings. It’s an opportunity to let go of any hurt or disappointments or negative feelings. So, whatever I have left in me is what I will give. I will give my all. I will do the hard things. I will be who I want to be. And most importantly, no matter what happens, I won’t give up.

Resolution

I don’t tend to put much meaning into milestones. My birthday is an arbitrary date that just happens to mark when I can say I am older. Likewise, New Year’s day is an arbitrary date that marks the beginning of a new calendar. In all reality, it is a social construct to keep everyone in sync with each other. This is evidenced by leap year. We have to readjust our time keeping to coincide with the time keeping of the Earth.

I know this is all pretty much irrelevant because everything is basically a mental construct of reality and is defined by what we believe. However, my point is that I don’t feel any greater need to determine my resolutions near January 1st than any other time of year. In fact, I think you are more likely to accomplish your goals if you start long before January 1st.

For instance, goals to exercise or eat healthier are generally reserved for after the holidays because people feel it will be easier with less temptations. However, there will always be temptations. By waiting until after the holidays, you are essentially telling yourself that you cannot resist temptations and therefore should not attempt to change habits that are likely to remain the same. Resolution shares the same root word as resolute and resolve. If you really have a resolve to change, why would you wait until New Year’s day to make that change?

Resolution also has the word solution in it. If you are deciding to implement a solution, wouldn’t you want to start right away? Why wait to fix your life or your marriage or your work responsibilities? If you have a solution to a real problem, why would you not want to do it right away?

So this year, I am making one, and only one, resolution. That resolution is to not wait until next year to make changes in my life. If I see something that needs to be changed or fixed or improved, I’m going to start right away. I am going to be resolute and determined in my resolve to be better and to find and implement solutions in my life. I am going to not just make goals and resolutions, but do them.

Resolutions/ Gift to God

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions because I don’t think you should wait for a particular date to make positive changes in your life. I do, however, like the idea of giving a gift to Christ when we celebrate his birth.

Last year, I gave the gift of prayer. Christ has always been my best friend from the time I was a child, he was the only one I could turn to in the darkness and loneliness. I realized though that I had neglected to really talk to God like I used to. I still prayed. I just didn’t really communicate with him. Throughout this year I focused on rebuilding that relationship, on getting to know my Father again, and allowing Him to be a part of my life. I have gone through amazing changes this year and hardly recognize who I used to be.

I wanted to do that again this year, give a gift to Christ and then focus on it all next year. However, as I asked for feedback on what I could give, the feedback I received indicated that I may be focusing on the wrong things. It is good to want to be better, but maybe the gift I need to give this year is to myself. Maybe this year I need to learn to love myself. It’s still a gift to God because I know he wants me to be happy and love myself, but maybe it’s also about time that I do something for me.

The truth is that I really don’t like myself. I look in the mirror and think, “how could anyone ever love you? You will never be enough. You could never be beautiful.” No wonder I want to die so much… The only good thing I ever say to myself is “you do good things.” And I repeat it over and over because it’s the only compliment I can actually believe.

Maybe this year I will give the gift of changing that- changing how I talk to and about myself. In all honesty, it will be hard to give up hating myself. I don’t enjoy hating myself, but I don’t see any reason to love myself and coming up with reasons seems like a daunting task. Is it possible to love someone you hate? I have already proven that is possible this year, I just have to prove it to myself this time.

Easter

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I love the chocolate bunnies. I love spending time with my family. And most of all, I love celebrating the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This year I decided to make Easter baskets for my family. Mostly it was because I’m single and I have the time and money to do so, but also because I just love making people happy. I love watching someone’s face as they discover something exciting. And Easter baskets are just exciting.

My family used to hide the Easter baskets on Sunday morning. When we woke up we’d have to find them under our bed or behind the tv or between couch cushions. Easter was always exciting for me. And I always hoped to get a chocolate bunny. I’m not exactly sure why, but my favorite chocolate is chocolate bunnies- the solid milk chocolate kind.  I think it has to do with the texture. No matter what brand of chocolate it is, it tastes better as a bunny shape.

Anyway, because Easter and springtime in general is a time for new beginnings, I’ve decided to use this time to set some resolutions. I’ve never engaged very much in setting New Year’s resolutions because I just feel like I shouldn’t have to wait until a new year to start making changes. If I want to make changes in my life, I want to start today not 8 months from now.

But I’ve decided to make some Easter resolutions because I want to be better. And even though I try to be better every day, I think connecting it to Easter will give me greater hope in trying to accomplish my goals. Because in the end, it’s not really me that pulls me to a new level of being. I am just a person, but “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

GREAT Goals

Have you set your New Year’s resolutions this year?

I have been thinking lately about all of the New Year’s resolutions that are abandoned as the year goes on. A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something” or “the quality of being determined or resolute.” So if resolutions are supposed to be firm decisions, why do we so easily forget or disregard them? How do we make resolute resolutions?

Most people have heard of “SMART” and “WISE” goal setting. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timely. And you need to be WISE in order to work toward fulfilling those goals. (People have different terms for the WISE acronym.)

Together, these philosophies can help you work to make and keep your goals. However, the problem with both of these is that they only come into play after you decide what goal you want to make. So most people’s goals tend to be focused on changing behavior, which means that people are expecting to be able to change their behavior without changing the causes of that behavior.

Sometimes life does work out in a way that allows our behavior to change our thoughts, but usually it is our thoughts that change our behavior. So I’ve come up with my own acronym to help you with deciding what goals to make in the first place. I hope that this will help you to make goals that will make you want to change rather than simply change your behavior.

Here are my steps to GREAT goals:

Get
Ready

Explore
Areas

Turn

The first step to making a great goal is to get ready. You need to be ready to change, ready to become better than you are now. You get ready by recognizing a desire to change. That desire could be due to health problems, family concerns, or mental or emotional needs. For example, “I want to be healthier because I have a family history of diabetes.”As much as you can, try to get to the root of what causes the behavior you want to change and then determine why you want to change.

Next, explore the areas you want to change. If you want to be healthier, explore your options for becoming healthy. If you don’t enjoy using exercise equipment, don’t make a goal to go to the gym. Instead explore options like walking around a mall. Look at your behavior and explore options that you would enjoy doing. If you take the time to explore the areas you want to change, you’ll likely find an option to change that you can commit to doing.

Then, turn your life to make the change you want to see. It’s good to make goals to change behavior but unless you choose to change yourself, your behavior will likely remain unchanged. You need to commit to turning your life. Turn in the direction you want your life to go. Make your goals part of your life rather than add-ons. Integrate your goals into your normal routine or better yet integrate your normal routine into your goals.

Once you’ve decided to make great goals, be smart and wise in how you make those goals a reality. Get help and feedback along the way. Changing yourself isn’t easy so use all the help you can get.

Good luck with your goals this year!