New Year's Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions. Those goals we make every year: to try new things, to change those things about ourselves we don’t like. Sometimes they’re a bit too lofty – going from exercising once in while to working out for an hour a day doesn’t usually stick. Sometimes it seems as if we sell ourselves short, settling for something that doesn’t truly make a change, just so that we can say we kept our resolution.
In the past, my resolutions have run the gamut, so to speak. I recently stumbled on the resolutions I made when I was 9. One of them was to be less afraid; of “really dark places, of bad dreams, of people finding out my secrets”. My word. What deep, dark secrets did my 9 year-old self have? Another was to be kinder to my family. Funnily enough, I wrote this year’s resolutions before reading that, yet I still wrote a variation of those two things. I’ve usually made about 5 resolutions, some of which “happened” and some of which failed. I’ve had years full of self-propelled growth, and years in which I was dragged kicking and screaming. And still, every year I make resolutions as the new year rolls around. (Except for one year, when I thought that since the last year’s all were failures, I just shouldn’t make any, ever again.) Which has gotten me thinking, maybe it’s not so important if our resolutions work out. Sure, we want all those plans to happen. But maybe it’s the trying that really matters. Whether or not I started venturing into our basement alone when I was 9 isn’t as important as it is that the few times I did, I faced the dark, and the scary noises, and the shadowy corners behind boxes, and didn’t let myself be intimidated. Whether or not I was noticeably kinder to my family that year is less important than the fact that I tried. I wanted to be kinder to them. I tried. And doing our best is all we can do, right?
So this year is going to be my year to do my best. No more half-hearted tries, or sliding through assignments. Even if something doesn’t turn out the way I want it too, at least I’ll know that I did everything I could.
This being said, I’ve made 6 resolutions this year, excluding doing my best. I feel like that’s not quite a New Year’s resolution. I’m not sure what I’d call it, but it doesn’t get included in my list.
1. Practice charity: I need to work on thinking the best of everyone, on not being so judgmental. All too often, I immediately judge someone based on a tiny glimpse into their life, or simply based on my own insecurities. If I want others to treat me a certain way, the best I can do is treat them as such. I’m going to try to be less selfish, and to be more generous, with my time especially. Too often I push off opportunities to help others because I’m too busy, or just have other things I’d rather do. This year, I’m going to give more of my time to others.
2. Practice patience: I am the oldest of 5 children, with an age span of 17 to 3. So it’s often very crazy around here. Which means that I spend way too much time being impatient and irritated. I’ll miss out on something beautiful, because I’m in such a hurry to get to where we’re going, or because I want to listen to the radio over my siblings’ voices. As well, I’m going to try to be patient with myself; I beat myself up over things that shouldn’t be a big deal, and it needs to stop. And lastly, patience with where my life is at. God has a big wonderful plan for my life, as my Mom always reminds me, and if I do my best to follow His will, well then, I need to be happy with where I’m at and remember that I am going somewhere. Even if it sometimes seems like I’m stuck in a giant blob of Jello waiting for my life to actually start.
3. Make smart choices: This is instead of my typical “Lose 20 lbs by June”. Because all that does is make me feel inadequate. Instead, I’ll be watching what I eat. I’ll be going to bed earlier, because I’m sooo sleep-dependant. I’ll be doing my hardest to avoid procrastination, the scourge of every homeschooled student with a computer and a favorite book, so that I can make time for myself. I have this really bad habit of stealing 10 minute increments, supposedly for “me time”, only to reach the end of the day and realize that I didn’t do anything I’d wanted to. No more! If I can get my homework done when I’m supposed to, then I should have at least 30 minutes for myself.
4. Make time for my family: My mother is an incredible person. Among her many gifts to my family is that she silently picks up extra chores. If someone is busy and forgets to do something, she does it. Always. Which means that she’s essentially always working. This year, I want to be more in tune to her needs, I want to pick up her chores. As well, I’ll be graduating this Spring, and going halfway across the country to college in August. With these massive life changes, I need to remember to make time for my family, mostly by making an effort to call them, even when I’m busy. I need to not get so wrapped up in my life that I push them to the edges.
5. Be brave: Harkening back to my 9 year-old resolutions, I need to be brave. I’m no longer afraid of our basement (although I am somewhat of a ‘fraidy cat when it comes to scary movies) but I do still struggle with finding courage. I want to stop running away from situations I’m uncomfortable with. I want to put myself out there, knowing that I may be rejected. I want to rise above my various insecurities and reach out to others.
6. Be confident about myself: Similar to the previous, but not the same. Confidence in myself is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. (Oh, but you knew that already, didn’t you, because I write lovely TMI poetry and post it.) I feel a bit like some sort of computer game flower: beam sunshine on me, and I bloom like none other. Show me some cold, and I’ll curl up and flop over. I want to be my own sunshine, to remember that even if a cloud covers the sun it’s still there. I want to be self-assured, to know that it’s not the end of the world if not everyone likes me.
These are my goals, my plans, my wishes for 2014. Here’s to a new year, to a reminder that we have the power to change our lives anytime we put our minds to it. And here’s to us, to the future we’re going to build. To a future of peace and prosperity, a future of love and forgiveness and hope. To our future. To 2014, which might just be the start of something incredible.