As a teacher, twice a year I have the opportunity to make meaningful changes in my life. First at the beginning of a new school year in September and again in January at the start of a new calendar year. However, we can make new choices - take steps that send us in a new trajectory - every single day. And these steps don't have to be giant or complicated. Sometimes small shifts can land us in an infinitely more desirable place, simplify our lives, and expand our joy. Here are my simple resolutions for this new year.
1. Prepare my book for publication
You may be thinking, "That's a simple resolution?", but as I learned in 2016, if you break a goal down and attack it one bite at a time, any goal is achievable.
Action Plan: Edit 2 1/2 pages per day, 5 days a week to reach this goal by April 15th!
2. Invest in relationships
As an introvert, my tendency is to crawl into my bathtub and immerse myself in a good book in my free time. However, God created us to be in relationship. Reaching our God-given potential without interacting with the people he has placed in our lives is impossible. Remember to think simply when planning together time. A 30-minute walk, coffee at Barnes & Noble, or even sledding down the hill in your backyard can be just as effective at deepening relationships as a fancy (read: expensive night) on the town.
Action Plan: 2 dates a month with my husband, Mark, 1 date a month with each of my three kiddos, and a monthly get together with friends.
3. Grow in my relationship with God
It is impossible to filter through life's clutter and make wise choices without a connection to our creator. For years I set lofty goals like reading my Bible for hours at a time or joining an online study several nights a week. At least for this stage of my life, devoting hours each day to Bible study and prayer are not in the cards. And quite honestly, that is not the way God made me. I am a Martha through and through and - in my 40's - am finally trying to make peace with my Type A tendencies.
Action Plan: Weekly study through Faith Gateway's Online Bible Studies and morning prayer with a simple journal.
4. Grow Intellectually
The comedian, Tim Hawkins, calls the brain a "meat computer". It is simply amazing how our brains can grow and form new synapses even into old age. The opposite is also true. If you don't exercise your meat computer, it will atrophy and not function to its full capacity.
Action Plan: Read for an hour before bed...one book for enjoyment and one book for growth (parenting, marriage, writing). Try one new experience each month.
5. Stay healthy
Again, balance is key. The running Nazis continually try to convince me to become a runner girl, but pounding the pavement toward knee-replacement surgery is not my bag. I'll stick with walking, thank you very much, which has allowed me to maintain a healthy weight for the last 30 years. Find your bliss and stick with it. Consistency - not intensity - is key.
Action plan: Walk at least 3 days per week for 45 minutes to an hour. Sleep 7 1/2 hours each night.
6. Be more organized and less frazzled
"The palest ink is more reliable than the most powerful memory" says the old adage. In other words, write it down, doofus! I find that my best laid plans stay just that unless I put pen to paper and make my mental gyrations a visible reality.
Action Plan: Use Google calendar to keep track of appointments. Make a nightly to-do list for the next day. Create two-week meal plan and grocery list on Sundays.
What about your resolutions this year? I'd love to hear from you!