Thursday, January 6, 2011

There's Something About That January Freshness....

Last January, I sat down with 2 friends, and made a list of goals for 2010.  The categories on the form were:

Spiritual Unfoldment

Well Being

Loving Relationships

Abundant Expression (this means $$, I think)

Creative Expression

Other (for me, this is mostly "work", but it's also about integrity)

This list, with  insightful hopeful predictions for my behavior throughout the year, did drive the way I lived my life a little.  I felt like there was some structure to what I was supposed to be doing, and that I had a reference if I found myself, like I often do in times of extreme overwhelm or self-doubt, unfulfilled, stagnant, or anxious.  And while I did not accomplish everything on the list, I did go back and look at this list periodically throughout the year and try to move forward in each of my little goals.

Now, it's a whole fresh, new year.  I love the new beginnings of it--my willingness to start over.  January seems like the perfect time to do that.  My kids went back to school this week, and I don't need to be back on campus to teach until next Monday, so this is my week to do those projections, to finish up those tasks begun last year whose incompletion continually fill me with a pending sense of failure.  And, I'm going to think about what I can do differently this year to make my life more balanced and calm.

So, here goes:

Spiritual Unfoldment:
Last year I vowed to be less concerned about what people thought of me and more caring and useful to others is a selfless way, not just to be noticed for my accomplishments.  I do tend to have such an ego.  I think I want to have the neatest house, the most well-behaved and academically accomplished children, the most romantic relationship, and the most interesting creative endeavors, or at least my mind wants people to think I do. These are really just tricks my mind plays on me to trip me up in a real world.  They're not entirely possible or desireable.

Last year's goal was meant to make a dent in that backwards, ingrained thinking.  I am turning more to the universe, God, spiritual guiding light, whatever you want to call it, to counter the self-grandiose instincts that my mind still wants to lean toward.  This year, I want to continue that same practice.  It really does feel good.

Well Being:
Last year's goals in this category were all about eating and exercise.  I did get a pretty good handle on the eating last year, and the exercise is going pretty well too.  It's just something that I do everyday, not something I need to start again every month, year, Monday.  This is a huge relief, by the way.  I've struggled with weight and body image for years, and to have it be something that occurs in my life more effortlessly is a huge blessing.  I do have to work on everything else in my life that makes me anxious, because if I don't, my tendency is to isolate and shut down, and that means no exercise and excess food--feels yucky, and I will continue to make this a life-long goal.

Loving Relationships:
This is where I need the most work.  I have a significant goal for this year in terms of my relationships with each of my children that I wanted to work on last year, but dismally failed.  I want to spend planned, individual one-on-one time with each child during which they get my undivided attention.  There always seems to be something else that pulls me away from them--like reading (which I love and will steal away to do any time I can), writing, grading papers (and with online classes, this happens in front of the computer screen--definitely not undivided attention to kids), and all the distracting social networking with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.  Not to mention that they are both completely obsessed with Pokemon right now, and I really don't want to hear about how to get past this or that level on the video game.

I do definitely spend time with the kids, but it's always with them together and that means bickering over who's going to pick what activity, song on the radio, snack-food item, you name it.  Constant battle.  So this year, one-on-one time.  Check back on this one....

Also, on last year's goals list, I said that I would say one positive parenting observation to DG everyday.  I didn't do this either.  But it's still a good goal, one that I can realistically say that if I follow through on it, our family life will be infinitely better.  I know that complementing the kids on what they're doing right works wonders to get them act appropriately, whereas nagging has the complete opposite effect.  I'm learning that my nagging pattern with DG is having the exact same effect.  He deserves better.  He's a great dad, and I need to let him know.

Abundant Expression:
I think this is really a buzz phrase for bringing in more in your life.  Last year, this was about money.  Not so much bringing in more, but better managing what we've got.  Budgets are always elusive for me, but without one, or at least some semblance of knowledge of what is coming in and what is going out, I can end up buying things I don't need, thereby creating more chaos in my life.

This year, I'm organizing every cabinet, closet and drawer in the house.  This means I'll have an inventory of what we have and I won't end up buying 3 different sets of Easter hand towels because I can't find the original set I bought. This relates to bringing in more by actually getting by with less.  More then becomes, instead of material things, order, peace, and time to enjoy my surroundings instead of spinning in the clutter.

Creative Expression:
So much belongs in this category: writing, scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, photography, dancing. It's hard to fit in all of these creative hobbies, but this year, I intend to find time for them all, even if it's just a little time on each one. I think it's important to do something creative every day, and while I can't obviously do all of these things in each day, I can knit one row in the scarf for T1, and I can take pictures of the pets with different exposures to learn more about the camera. I don't need to be an expert in any of these activities, but I do want to think, at the end of the day, "I created something today," and that will be enough.

Other (called work goals above):
So really anything can go here. Work wise, I plan to slow down, focus, and cross off 3 things from my project to-do list every day. I love my job, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming.  Three things a day is doable, workable.

Other goals for 2011? Keep commitments, be kinder to others (especially my kids), practice patience.

I don't think these goals are necessarily lofty or unobtainable, and I don't even think they're the kinds of resolutions that I'll look back at next year and say, "Wow! I really didn't do any of this." These are ongoing ways of living that can enhance my day to day life and make each day have a little more purpose. And I'm ready to take on 2011 with purpose.

1 comment:

MomAgain@40 said...

REally very good goals for the year to come! It is good/necessary to sit down, and put in in black and white. I have to do something like this again... (I used to do it, but has let it slip by...)

Good luck with your resolutions! :D