My husband is a carpenter. He has his own business. And has been slowly building our house over the years. He will decide on the next project — for example, built-in pantry shelves — and over a weekend, they will appear.
There are moments — and by moments, I mean stretches of weeks or months — when I feel that my days are filled with the endless needs of daily life. Taking care of my three young children, my work as a teacher, laundry, making dinner, packing lunches, running errands, making sure I am home for nap time, checking email, organizing papers, putting away toys, vacuuming… There is obviously always something to do. And I find moments to run, hang out with my husband, take the children out on an adventure, or maybe even slip away with a friend on occasion, although even that feels rare these days. My life feels full. And yet I don’t feel I move forward on any of my goals outside of regular, everyday routine.
Not only will my husband build the shelves — he will do it on a day when he is also caring for our children.
I have been reviewing the past twelve months. And making plans for the new year. It’s been very sweet to see things with a bit of perspective. When you take a few steps back, it is easier to see how much has been accomplished, how much joy has been had, how much growth has taken place. But I also see what hasn’t happened. I want to write — but I don’t write. I want to exercise more — but I choose to sleep in. I want to eat more healthy — but that cookie would just taste so good right now. I want to organize my attic — but how in the world am I going to go up there with three little children who will inevitably try to follow me?! And there are bigger dreams that I have that I can’t even begin to take steps to accomplish when I still haven’t managed to cross off my “to do” list: wash sheets
So tonight I put my children to bed. And I decided: If I want to write, I am going to write. No more excuses. No more waiting for the perfect topic or inspiration. Just write now/ right now. Choose to take a small step towards one of my goals. And this is that.
My dreams have to be fulfilled within the regular rhythm of my full and wonderful life. So here are my 10 resolutions for the New Year:
- Write down the dream to be present and patient with my children. I waited for this moment in my life for so long. Everyday write down this essential goal in life and be thrilled when I can check it off at the end of the day.
- Write down the dream to be present and patient with my husband and myself. Be understanding if I don’t cross that one off as easily at first. (Not that #1 is easy.) It’s all a practice.
- To that end, review the day while taking a shower before bed. (I take a shower every night already, so this is one way to incorporate my goals into my established routine.) Think of a wonderful, “golden moment” for each member of my family. And a moment when each person struggled. Write these moments down in a journal before going to bed. In the morning, when running, do an abbreviated “Compassionate Response Meditation” for each of us — breathing in the image of struggle and holding the person with love and breathing out the “golden moment” and holding the person with joy. On days when I won’t be running, I will do this in bed before getting up.
- Go for a short run 3 days/ week and a longer run on on the weekend. Run at least 15 miles/ week. Realize it’s a goal and I may need to work up to it.
- Drink more water and eat healthy — no sugar, no alcohol, no cheese, no wheat — and then have one day/ week when I allow myself whatever I want. Otherwise, what’s the point? I will just start eating cookies every night.
- Sleep. Go to bed by 9:30pm Sunday – Wednesday. Be a night owl the other days.
- Go out after the kids are in bed one night/ week even if it is just for a short amount of time. See my friends, hang out with my mom without the children right there, connect with other mamas — It’s important. Be back for my own “bedtime” so I don’t pay for going out by not exercising the next morning.
- Devote one hour/ week for writing. And do it.
- Devote two hours/ week for larger goals. Pick one and keep it up — even if it is just a little step each week — until it is accomplished. And then pick the next one.
- Be flexible and patient with myself — knowing that some goals may not be completed until my children are grown. And that’s fine. Go back to goal #1.
Okay, there was my first hour of writing. Now to finish my cookie. Goal #5 will wait for January 1st.
Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions forming right now?