Its official: I am not making any New Year’s Resolutions for 2018!
Why you might ask?
In the last couple of years I have put a great deal of energy and effort into those resolutions, thinking about what is possible and what I will achieve. Then – I fail. Fail, because I simply find that I don’t accomplish them because they were so BIG and encompassing.
Two years ago – my goal was to buy a house and lose 5 kilos, plus spend a few hours each week volunteering at the local school – and more! To start doing all those things from January 1st was just not reasonable. I do see that those plans have got me closer to where I am today, not living the ideal life by any means, but closer to where I want to be. But did I need to set them?
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In 2017 realizing I needed an easier plan I made my goals more simple. Things like “to spend 30 minutes each day focused on each child” and to be fit and healthy instead of lose weight. Some were driven, like maximizing school holidays for overseas travel and ended up causing us a lot of stress (read here about why we chose instead a Healthy Lifestyle instead of a Bali trip!) They were softer goals, but still they were set “up there” as things that I must attain.
At the end of 2017 I had a sense that I fell short…again. BUT, in reviewing the year I realized I haven’t celebrated the simplest thing; I didn’t reach a lot of those big life goals because I was LIVING. In 2017 I worked towards the goal of living more fully, more mindfully, and joyously. I didn’t always succeed, but I did become more mindful and connected. I tried hard to be present when the kids needed me, rather than occupied on my “to do list”. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I did not.
I am listening to the “Dare to Flourish” podcasts and “Why We Don’t Need Guilt With Mothering” by mentor, Marion Rose. Rose mentions that people tend not to start things because they seem so big. Her advice is to start now! So I did, on some random late November day, I started doing daily mindfulness. Every time I forget to do it for a days, I pick myself back up and remind myself that it takes a minimum of 21 days and up to 66 days to form a habit! In the past when it was a New Year’s resolution I often ‘stopped’ doing it. It was often relegated to the too hard basket by the end of the month.
Another of my favorite books is Buddhism for Parents on the Go, by Sarah Napthali, which describes that when we are absorbed by our goals we can fail to notice what is going on around us. There is a risk we can live our life in our head, rather than showing up for it. I realized that I was guilty of doing that when I was ‘playing’ with the kids. Now, I make my mind focus on the game and I “show up” playing my heart out.
So instead of making New Year’s resolutions I committed to ‘showing up for life’ – having fun, being loving and connected. I’m focused on what is happening for my family and reflecting on what that might mean. Also, I’m totally inspired by Reflective Parenting: A Guide to Understanding What’s Going on in Your Child’s Mind, by Alistair Cooper & Sheila Redfern.
None of this is to say that setting New Year’s Resolutions is not a good thing, it can be a powerful stimulant to make something happen. For me, however, in the past it has ended up with a feeling of not reaching a goal. This year “the goal” is just “being” every day. With that essential piece of my life in place, some of the bigger life goals will fall in place.
Exercise routine…can start tomorrow!!! What would have happened if I had set it as a New Year’s resolution I wonder?
Are you setting any New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?
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