Like so many others, I rarely keep a New Year’s resolution but even so, I have always loved making them. There’s something motivating and exciting about the chance to make a “fresh start” and of resolving to make things bigger and better for the forthcoming year.
Last year, around this time, I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project which I found to be extremely motivating for making resolutions (considering the entire book is based around Rubin’s personal resolutions for making her own life happier). I identified with Rubin so much and found many similarities between my character and hers. Likewise, I adored Rubin’s philosophies and ideas about happiness based on research and her own personal experiences. Even more, I loved the organization of her book – broken into twelve chapters, with each chapter representing a monthly theme that she set personal goals (or resolutions) for.
This year, I just finished reading Happier at Home. Very much like The Happiness Project, it focuses on Rubin’s research around what it means to be happier at home and goes in depth with her own personal experiences. Again, because I identify with Rubin so much, I loved this book and the ideas it presented. Upon finishing the book, I was thrilled to realize that Rubin recently released a third book entitled Better Than Before and immediately purchased it in iBooks. I haven’t started Better than Before yet because I actually decided to read The Happiness Project again, and this time I am highlighting my favourite sections, quotes, thoughts, and ideas. I haven’t really decided yet what I will do with the highlighted sections (I have considered responding to some of them with my own thoughts and interpretations here on the blog…stay tuned!) but I’m finding that The Happiness Project is inspiring me all over again to set some really well-thought out resolutions. Of course, this highly organized way of thinking also appeals to my nature. In fact, I didn’t want to actually write this post until I new exactly what I wanted to say about my goals and intentions for the upcoming year. It’s been on my mind all week ~ many different ideas floating around but the right words just out of touch. Then I read something in The Happiness Project about the notion that good enough sometimes is more important than perfect. This idea is based on the thought that we sometimes never get anything accomplished because we are waiting for the perfect way to do it – in reality, if we can accept good enough we will get a lot more accomplished and be all the more satisfied for it. So with that thought in mind, here goes….. My resolutions for 2016 (in a more or less unorganized fashion…)
There is a fairly new trend that has people choosing a theme word for the new year. I have mulled over the idea and the first word I came up with for 2016 is gentle. I chose this word mostly because one of my main goals for 2016 is to be more gentle with myself. I want to take some responsibilities off my plate and to ease some of the pressure I put on myself. I want to focus more on the things that really matter, and less on the things that don’t. I want to really learn how to take care of myself and develop a more gentle nature, so as a result I can take better care of my loved ones.
This being said, one of the reasons I have struggled so much with my New Year’s resolutions is because the very notion of being more gentle in itself means working hard to be more conscious of my behaviour and choices. This seemed a little redundant to me until I read a quote in The Happiness Project: “There is a constant tug between striving and accepting… there is a time for both pursuing and accepting.” This very thought rang true with me. So much so that it had me thinking about balance. There is a time to strive, to push oneself, to work hard, to attain goals… and there is also a time to relax, to find calm, to stop working, and to just be. Maybe balance should be my theme for 2016?
Another area in which I hope to find more balance has been my quest for good physical health. My weigh has been a struggle my entire adult life and the whole issue of dieting or not dieting has always felt so extreme. I’ve always had a perfectionist mentality so I’m either on the wagon or not. I’m either working out like a maniac, running, lifting weights, counting calories, tracking food, and obsessing over every choice I make, or I’m eating everything in sight, not working out at all, and finding a lot of pleasure in bumming around on the couch. In 2016, I need to get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to being fit and healthy. I need to remember that good enough often gets more accomplished than perfect. Here are some things I plan to do to try to find that balance.
Recently I gave up my part-time job ( I still teach full-time) to have more time for my family and for myself. Working two jobs while maintaining a household and being a wife and a mom, proved to be overwhelming and stressful. It put me in a place that was difficult and mentally unhealthy. Now that I have my weekends back I am looking forward to connecting more with my loved ones, and especially with myself.
With my Family:
- Go all out for birthdays – Admittedly, my husband and I have dropped the ball on birthdays, even our kids’ birthdays. This year we have planned to go all out to make sure each birthday boy/girl feels extra special.
- Work without reward – Remember that chores that I deem important aren’t necessarily important to others and therefore I shouldn’t always expect to be rewarded for them. If I learn to do them because I want them done and they feel important to me, I won’t be so upset when others don’t notice or don’t give me the recognition I feel I deserve.
- Walk the dog (good for him, good for me)
- Pause to think (before I react to a difficult situation or before I answer a difficult question, especially at home).
- Set a schedule for regular phone dates with my best friend.
- Have a “girls day” with my best girl friends more than once a year.
- Send out Christmas cards and family letter.
- Write more (develop my blog and write regularly!)
- Read (love having a pile of books waiting for me to read!)
- Do yoga (spiritual, physical, and mental wellness!)
- Explore meditation (be mindful, serene, and calm – improve mental health)
- Get massages (reduce stress, and let’s admit…. I love a good back rub!)
- Think positive (and give myself a break…. Be gentle with yourself).
Hope I can keep all of these resolutions because I truly believe they will bring more happiness, love, and peace to my life this year! What are your New Year’s Resolutions?