Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 Resolution Epiphany

On the Feast of Epiphany, I had an epiphany. I do want to write down my resolutions this year. I thought I wasn't making any resolutions -- not sure why I thought that -- but I realized on Epiphany that I already had made them. Acknowledging them made good sense.

Image result for resolutionI like the six-word resolutions I've made for many years. It's a concise form that works for me. This year, I took the "burning issues" in my life and made resolutions around them. But first . . . . a story.

In 2005, I made a set resolutions as I usually do. I recently ran across them reiterated in an entry from December of that year. They were simple and relationship based. I don't remember all of them but here are the basics:

  • Play games with the girls (then 7 & 9)
  • Spend more time with family (his, mine and ours)
  • Right some wrongs
  • Sew more 
  • Be more spontaneous. Enjoy my life. 
Per the note in my journal, I was trying to see what I had left untended or unfulfilled. By December, I'd completed a lot of them. One thing stood glaringly unfinished: I had not made amends for breaking the heart of a sister-friend. I hadn't done it on purpose; it was more a slow building of a wall between us, brick by brick. I resolved to correct this.

I got a big old plate of grace when a few days after making the note in my journal, that very dear one called me and asked me to attend a conference with her. I did so and within a few hours of arriving there, I sought her out to make amends. Being the large-hearted person she was, she forgave me and we spent those several days mending our relationship.

In 2006, I spent tons of time with her; we were working closely together professionally but more, we were sisters and super-friends again. We spoke on the phone every day; we saw each other once or twice a week. In April we made a spontaneous decision to go to a meeting that evening in Houston. On the drive down and back, sans the distraction of both of our kids, she told me stories I'd never heard about her life. I relished every moment of that day and sent silent prayers of gratitude that I'd kept that resolution and brought her fully back into my life.

A few weeks later, she was dead. Even though it took me 11 months to keep that resolution the year before, making  the resolution was what eventually spurred me to do the hard thing and tear down that wall. Thank God I did.

So there you have it. Most year's resolutions are not so prescient. Nonetheless, I have never been sorry for making -- and attempting to keep -- my New Year's resolutions. 

Without further ado, here is my streamlined plan for 2016: 

Exercise 3 days, track steps, food
Daily quiet, reading, writing, and knitting
Sort and cull; clear the clutter
Love my 6 most beloved more

To support these actions, I've SMART planned them. I'm happy to have accomplished this, though a few days later than typically. 

What are you/have you resolved to do this year?
Image result for resolution

PS - I write about resolutions most years and often more than once!. Here are several of those posts:

New Resolutions:

2015: More is More, Less is More and More is Better!
2014: Six Word Resolutions to Write on the Clean Slate
2013: Resolutionary Manifesto
2012: A Single Resolution
2011: New Year's Revolution
2010: Resolution Revolution
2009: God on Speed Dial

Taking Stock Along the Way:

Dec 2015: The Un-listened to "Provided That"
Dec 2014: A Change of Face
Feb 2014: Resolution Reality Check
Jan 2013: Hope for my Resolutions

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Un-Listened to "Provided That"

Image result for new year's resolutionIt's a bright new year. Another new beginning, second chance, one more time. That's right folks: "One more time " . . . it's not "too many times." 

It's so easy for my mind (and yours?) to go there: "You're a failure. You work on these things every year. How many times will it take to get it "right?" There's something wrong with you. You're a fraud. You should give up."

Here's the big news: Not everything you think is true. In fact, I'd venture to say a lot of it is not true. It's never the right time to give up on yourself. We do learn from our successes but the real growth opportunity is in our failures. It's in trying and not succeeding that we find out what are our "provided thats," and what are our stumbling blocks. On our next attempt, we have a chance to factor those "provided thats" into our new plan.

Are you confused yet? Here's an example:

When I look at my resolutions from last year, I see that I did not completely fail. Ha! Take that mind-talk. That said, I immediately notice a resolution I did not keep 100%:

"Take time each day to meditate, reflect, process, choose and -- the biggy --be grateful."

I made this about 50% of the time.  Why not? 2 reasons: 1) I had a hidden "provided that" and, 2), once I got off track, I had a hard time getting back on track, even completely forgetting for days at a time.

The hidden "provided that" was "provided that I got a reasonable amount of sleep (6+ hours) and I wasn't sick."  Whew.

Now I have to decide if I want to factor in my "provided that" into my plans.  Having 5 kids means that someone is having a crisis a LOT of the time. And it turns out that kids and crises and sleep aren't good friends. So between lack of sleep and occasional illness, I would probably be hitting about 60-70% of the days. That's actually not close enough for me.

Mid year, I decided to amend my resolution based on what I'd learned: "Take time to meditate (etc) at least 5 times a week." This was an acceptable compromise to me and allowed me a couple of days for my life to interfere with my plans.

I haven't made my 2016 resolutions yet. When I do, however, I will spend a little more time plumbing out my "provided thats" at the beginning to increase my odds of success through the year.

What are your resolutions?  Image result for new year's resolution