I was never one to set resolutions for the new year. I tried it a couple of years because it was the trendy thing to do, but ultimately my resolutions became big failures.
I attribute my failures to a few different reasons such as setting unrealistic goals for myself, being too vague, and not really identifying the things that will get me to my desired destination.
You know, things like ‘I am going to start exercising to lose weight’ or ‘I am going to eat better’.
Everyone wants the new year to be radically better—including me. Unfortunately for me, most years felt like I was just winging it. I ended up riding the rollercoaster or finding the path of least resistance more than I wanted to.
People would look at me at think that I really had my act together. I was always doing something or going somewhere, and if you asked me, I always had a plan. I was a master at staying busy.
I also learned to become flexible so that I could rework my schedule on the fly to keep productivity high. That method served me well in many areas of my life for many years.
But I have to confess that the areas of my life in which it didn’t serve me was those areas that involved my own well-being. When it came to helping others, I was energized. I could plan and schedule and devise ways to accomplish whatever came up for the family, work, and even projects around the farm.
I am a mission oriented person with a teamwork focused viewpoint. I love being part of a team that accomplishes great things, even if it just meant helping my daughter get ready for a horse show.
My attention to detail and ability to anticipate needs before they arise makes me highly effective at reaching the desired outcome of the mission. It gives me great satisfaction even without recognition of my contribution (although it’s really nice to be recognized every once in a while).
So, when it came to doing something just for my own benefit, it was hard for me to keep those promises I made to myself. Doing things for others was so much easier and fun than doing something for myself.
As a parent, it’s hard to not feel that your family’s needs are greater than your own. We have a certain obligation to do for those in our family who cannot do for themselves. Being a good parent takes sacrifice; so does being a good team member.
All too often, New Year’s resolutions are abstract and flat, without much substance or structure, and consequently without proper motivation. Even resolutions that appear as though they are for the benefit of others, like ‘I’m going to be a better parent this year’ fail because they are actually based in shame.
Any resolution based in shame is guaranteed to fail because it is self-defeating. No matter how hard you make it look like you are doing it for someone else, the reality is that the focus is on your failures. It’s like driving with the brake on—you never get to build momentum because you are always dragging yourself down.
That was a really intense way of building up to why I choose a theme for the year instead of setting resolutions. I apologize for that but sometimes when the words come out of my head they chart their own path.
My theme for 2018 is ‘Positioning Myself for Prosperity’. Think about how liberating that is! It gives me freedom to take each area of my life and improve it. My health, my finances, my relationships, my business, everything is open for improvement.
And while the theme is for myself, it gives me room to include my family and friends in the process and the rewards; that aspect is especially motivating. It allows me to look forward with anticipation while avoiding shame from the past.
The more I envision my efforts as being for the ‘mission’, the more momentum builds. And since I am the team leader, I get to choose who I have on my team to help.
My advice for dealing with reluctant members of the team (children and/or spouse) is to involve them in little ways that don’t create too much stress. Whatever help you can get out of them that saves you time and/or money is the best place to start. In some cases, over time, you may be able to ask more of them but avoid placing any shame on them.
If you can gain 15 minutes to walk on the treadmill by asking everyone in the family to gather together and sort their own laundry, that’s a win! Or have each person in the family responsible for supper one night a week. You set the guidelines for what is acceptable and then be gracious enough to be thankful for their effort. Depending on the person’s cooking skills hamburgers, soup, or even tuna salad sandwiches could be a good trade off for being able to use your time elsewhere.
I could go on and on with possibilities but I am out of time this week. As time goes on, I will let you know what I am up to this year and you may get some ideas from that.
Have a great weekend!
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.