I always struggle when it comes to New Years Resolutions. First of all, I have trouble thinking of January as the New Year: I'm still stuck in the school year mentality, which has September as the start of the year. Second of all, I hate failure, and I never can seem to keep up a resolution for 365 days. That's a long time, and hopefully I've grown over the course of the year, and likely my resolution from January will not be applicable by December.
But haunted by the saying "if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there" I am inspired again to make a short list of goals for myself.
I haven't done it yet, but I do have some ideas of things I want to work on.
1. Using the scriptures as my primary parenting handbook. I have a good friend who is my inspiration when it comes to parenting. She talks freely about the guidance she finds from between the pages of the scriptures. I have always read the bible in terms of general personal guidance for my own life, but rarely in search for answers for specific problems I'm facing. And parenting is an area in which I could use all the (divine) help I can get! I have two books on hand that talk about parenting using the scriptures, and I am hoping to be set on a good path by the knowledge in these books.
2. Use more local food in my cooking. This goal relates both to buying at local farms and planting my own garden. With three kids under the age of 4, including a newborn, I am under no illusions that I will be able to jump as deep into the use of local food as I would like. This year will be an experiment more than anything else: try my hand at planting a garden, check out some local farms, buy from the farmer's market even if it costs a little more. I feel I have come really far this past year or two in cooking with mostly fresh foods and eschewing prepared, packaged and processed things.
3. Parent with a purpose. Consider each of my children. Consider where they are. Consider their needs. Write down some goals I would like to work on with each child for the year. Include things I want to teach them in learning, culture, arts, the world, the news, spirituality. Have field trips and play dates. But most of all, be intentional about it. Don't just fly by the seat of my pants every day, hoping they glean something of worth.
4. Study and learn. I know that seems general, and maybe also a little bit of a cheat since I love to study and learn, and probably don't need a specific resolution to achieve this goal. However, I do have a couple of specific studies I have in mind that I want to complete - and often completion is the struggle for me.
i. The Love Dare - although I wrote a few days back that I would likely put off this dare for a little while amidst the chaos of a new baby, I realized later on that there will always be things in my life that make it busy and create chaos. I have no good reason to put off investing in my marriage and relationship with my husband. And so we have ventured to start this now.
ii. "21 Days Closer to Christ" - I bought this study last year and still haven't gotten around to it. I always have the feeling that I don't have the time to truly invest what I want to in this study. But, like my comment about the Love Dare, I know I need to just start it. I may not get everything out of it the first time, but there's nothing to say I can't do it now and then again later this year, or next year, or any other time in the future. I have found I can get something different out of a book I've read before, depending on where I am in life.
iii. Beth Moore's study on Esther - this is the study my small women's group is doing this Spring, and I really hope to complete all the reading and homework for it. Beth Moore is an intensive author, and her studies often involve 30 - 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for about 12 weeks. But her insight into the bible is astonishing and her writing and research style and right up my alley.
iv. "Square Foot Gardening" - I have a tendency to wing things. I have my Dad's knack for figuring things out on my own, and while this can be a wonderful gift, it also means that sometimes I read half of what I need to and wing the rest. This year I want to really study up on gardening to maximize my efforts in my own backyard.
5. Exercise. This is a new one for me. I've always been an active person, having joined volleyball leagues, gone on long hikes, and walked on a daily basis. But now that I have three little ones, and I'm playing in the band rather than playing volleyball, I worry a little about my activity level. Not only that, but I have heard so much about the "curse of the third" (pregnancy, that is), which makes it so much harder to rebound back to my pre-pregnancy size. So I have two goals in this resolution that I hope will help:
i) Attend the twice-weekly exercise class held at the church
ii) When the weather gets nice, walk Colin to and from school
6. Get to know our friends better. James and I love to entertain, but these past two years in Orangeville have been spent either dealing Caleb's tumultuous first year, or me being ill with pregnancy. I feel now that we can settle a little bit, and start to have our friends over for dinners now and then. We hope to have at least one dinner/evening with friends every month.
Well, I think that's a good start for me. I think one of the keys to resolutions is not to overload and therefore overwhelm oneself. The nice thing about the above goals is that not only are they broken down into manageable steps, but they can also be seasonal, meaning I don't have to start all of them right now. And some of them are short-term, which means they have a start and a finish, which helps in the feeling of accomplishment. I also want to keep up with my 1001 things in 101 days, knocking off a few of those goals here and there.
So here's to the New Year, and a chance to live a more focused life.