I have always loved New Years resolutions. It's the freshness of it all, when anything is possible and I envision great things for myself and those I love. I do, however, fit squarely in that statistical group that wanes around mid January. Oh, sometimes I last longer - last year for instance I planned to read the Bible in a year. While I didn't make it all the way through (I fell off the wagon somewhere in Psalms), I give myself props for pushing through Leviticus. But I haven't ever been able to sit down fully satisfied on the following December 31st knowing I hit it out of the park with a resolution.
This year, I've decided to rephrase these resolutions. I'm referring to them as the "things I want to do more of". Now I know this makes those goal people crazy because I don't have action steps or target dates, but for me it is more about a frame of mind. I am hoping the change in semantics inspires me in the year ahead.
So here is what I want to do more of in 2013.
1. Write. (Feel free to snicker...) When I think about the things I most enjoy doing, writing is right near the top of the list. (Just below rolling around in empty Lindor truffle wrappers.) I really love to write. I'm not terrific at it - I am a much better talker than writer - but there is something thoroughly enjoyable for me about putting words down on paper (or screen). I'd like to blog more if I can find a way to do it both transparently and wisely, I'd like to write some more devotions, and I'd like to journal. One of my hang ups with writing, especially here, is that people may actually read what I write. I want to write more because I love to write, not because others might read it (if that makes sense).
2. Check In. I am the queen of checking out. If it were an Olympic sport I would have big crocodile tears streaming down my face and a honking gold medal around my neck while you all sing the national anthem with me. I'm that good at it. I have to tell you - after a day of homeschooling, errand running, martial arting, dinner prepping, and all the other stuff that comes at me in a day, I can sit down in the evening and slip into a mental coma faster than you can say.... See? I just did it there. While there is something to be said for taking a break, it is probably important for the break to have some value. Currently I stare at the computer screen, play Boggle or Fruit Ninja on the iPad, or if it is a really, really good night, watch back to back episodes of Cops. I suppose I could claim I am increasing my vocabulary or learning about law enforcement, but I doubt it. I'm pretty much just checking out.
I want to learn to check in. Instead of shutting off my mind, I want to let it rest by doing something of value. Reading, writing, talking. I want to look at my kids sleeping. I want to hum while I wipe down counter tops. I want to pet the dogs and play tug of war with them. I want to sit on my front porch and drink tea. I want to draw.
3. Spend one on one time with each of my kids. I spend a lot of time with my kids. I don't say that as some sort of accolade, because if I am honest, some of that time (ahem) is spent gritting my teeth (think math lessons). Yes, quantity time matters, but I want to have more quality time with my kids one on one. Jude and I started going on bike rides together this summer. Some of the best conversations I've had with him were on those jaunts around the neighborhood. Calvin and I talk about anything and everything and a few things no one ever thought of to talk about when he and I take the dogs for a walk. And Alina has so much to share and say and reenact when we ride in the car together to just about anywhere. I have all three of my kids together all day long, but in 2013 I want more time with them alone. They are neat people, and I want to get to know each of them even better.
4. Implement the 15 minute principle. I have a mental list a mile long of things I really want to get to. Unfortunately, I don't seem to get to any of them (Can you hear the Cops theme song in the background?) So instead of making these grand plans, I am going to make 15 minute plans. For instance, I will practice something from martial arts for 15 minutes. I will spend 15 minutes picking up the house. I will take 15 minutes to do some meal prep during the day. I will sit down and read my Bible for 15 minutes. I will pay cards with Mark for 15 minutes. I think so much - both fun and not so fun - can be accomplished in 15 minutes. The kitchen timer may become my new best friend.
5. Do hard things. I'm going to turn 40 in 2013. And even though I am not terribly worked up about that milestone, I do want to be sure I am still growing as a person. I want to say hard things when it's needed. I want to push myself a little harder in martial arts. I want to deal with conflict promptly and appropriately. I want to forgive more easily. I want to say "yes" and "no" when it's the right answer, not just the easy one. I want to teach my kids you reap what you sow, even if it's hard to watch them learn it. I want to hook up the bluetooth in my car. I want to choose what is beneficial and not just what is permissible. I want to do the hard things because that is a part of growing.
There is, of course, a corresponding list of "What I want to do less of" in 2013. But perhaps I'll save that for another blog post. Just gives me another reason to write...and that means I'm already off to a decent start.