A new year
Falling like a blanket of snow,
Untouched by life.
The possibilities of January are endless. New beginnings spurred on by hope. We make New Year’s Resolutions, resolutions that are all too soon lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Studies show that by February 80% of our New Year’s resolutions have failed.
Two years ago, I was feeling stuck and tired of not moving forward, so I decided to try something new. Instead of lists of endless goals, I choose a phrase for my year. And it worked. By taking all my big plans narrowing them down to a single focus, I had clarity. At the end of the year, I had built habits that are still in place today. Each year since then I have chosen a phrase and allowed life to unfold organically adding layers to the foundations I began in 2016.
Small changes over time = Success
Self Control in 2016
I knew I needed to make changes in many areas of my life. I wasn’t eating healthily, exercising regularly, and I was spending too much time on Facebook and not enough time in the Bible. I had tried many times and failed in the past.
Self-control encompassed all the areas of my life. If I made any small change in the right direction, I could count it as a success. That was motivational because I knew I had the rest of the year to tackle all the other areas. I didn’t have to get everything right, I just needed to focus one thing. Since it takes 66 days to form a habit, I started with exercising three times a week and downloaded this 66-day calendar and hung it on the wall in my bathroom.
After the chart was filled with checkmarks, I felt confident and ready to add another habit. About eight months in, I kicked my hand weight that I had left sitting in the middle of the floor and fractured my right foot. I worried about losing my exercising habit, so I started swimming–something I fell in love with and still do today.
Be Still in 2017
In 2017, I was happy with the new habits I had, but I was struggling with anxiety, insomnia, low energy, joint, and muscle pain. I realized I needed to reduce my stress. and chose the phrase, “Be still and know that I am God.” That meant stepping back from teaching and leading and learned to not fill every moment of my life.And, it’s ok to say no and it’s ok if everyone doesn’t like me. I became more reflective and focused on what filled me and let go of what didn’t.
It was a great year of being still, and I was surprised when I looked back over 2017 and found I was more productive than I thought. I went to the rec center 108 times, spent time daily in the Word, began journaling three hand-written pages each day, joined Toastmasters, joined North Ridgeville Writer’s group, and submitted and got my first acceptance letter for devotional I wrote.
Be Present in 2018
As I thought about 2018, I realized I tend to live life evaluating the past or planning for the future. This year, I chose to live in the moment and allow life to unfold at the pace it was meant to. To me, this means not over-thinking and over-planning. It means I’m willing to show up and be seen. To be authentic, and honest with myself and those around me. I chose to embrace done—not perfect. To let go—I am not responsible for anyone else but myself. To let God be God. I look forward to next January and seeing how being present shapes my year.
How about you? In 365 days, when you reflect back over 2018, what one thing would you be happy if you accomplished? Chose a word or a phrase and let that shape your year. Blessings to you and Happy New Year.