Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

This year has flown by.  It’s hard to believe that in just a few days it will be 2013.  Once again I ask, “Where has this year gone?!!”

In the last several years I have chosen NOT to make New Year’s resolutions.  It just seems pointless because I would make resolutions that I could keep for a month or two and then it would phase out.  No… I’m not undisciplined.  I just would take too big a bite (have too many things to work on at once) and not be able to chew that bite.

So, once again… I will not be making any New Year’s resolutions for 2013.  But, I have some general directions in which I want to head.   I have decided that I need to get rid of some old habits and create new habits.  It has been said that it only takes 30 days of doing something and it will become a habit.  I submit that there’s a lot more to it than that.  Habits are deeply ingrained.  Anyone can will themselves to behave in a certain way for one or two months, but if there isn’t an internal change and a change in perspective, they’ll go right back to the old, deeply ingrained habits.   So, I will be working on changing my perspective this year.   But, there are two areas in which I want to make improvements in 2013.

Weight Loss

Last year I started off the year with a bang.  I started losing weight and did quite well until I hit a plateau and couldn’t seem to get any further.  Then I got discouraged even though I was telling myself (and my readers) not to get discouraged.  I gained back some of the weight that I had lost and have been steady at that new weight for the past five months.  I still need to lose a LOT of weight in order to feel comfortable.  And…  I will.  But, I am going to go about it differently than I did last year.

Being Organized

I have discovered something about myself… something I didn’t like in my husband.  I always accused him of being an all or nothing kind of guy.   I would ask, “Isn’t there some happy medium?  Does it have to be one extreme or the other?”  Here’s just one example:  If he was working on getting healthy, he would overdo it by walking for two or more hours a day.  There was no 30-45 minutes of fast-paced walking for him.  That two or three hours would dig into his schedule and soon went by the wayside because it took too much time and he had so much else to do.   (He’s a pretty amazing guy, by the way.  I wouldn’t trade him for another model for anything in the world.  I love him dearly and he’s stuck with me.  )

It turns out, I have been an “all or nothing” kind of gal.  I would go at something with everything in me, and if I didn’t reach my goal I’d get discouraged.  What I’ve learned in 2012 is that it’s OK to take baby steps.  It’s OK to work on part of a program instead of taking on an entire program.  One of my links (to the right at the bottom) is to the Fly Lady.  She is amazingly organized.  I, on the other hand, have always been a “fly by the seat of my pants”, impromtu, “planning and sticking with a calendar is a pain in the back-side” kind of personality.  I’m not one of these people who will account for every minute of my time.  Nor will I set up a schedule that says, “for 15 minutes I’ll do this, and then I’ll do that for the next 15 minutes.”  That just doesn’t work for me.  That approach takes all of the joy out of anything that I do.  In the business world it took a lot of effort to make sure that I was organized enough to do well at my job… and do well, I did.  I always got excellent reviews.  So, I know it’s possible because I was able to control that natural tendency to be disorganized.  But, I also did the work in the way best suited to me so long as the results best suited my boss.  Thankfully, I always had bosses that allowed me that freedom.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase.
Just take the first step. ” –Martin Luther King Jr.

Well, with the Fly Lady program I tried to do EVERYTHING all at once (despite the fact that she says to take it a step at a time).  I had a great, organized house… for a very short while.  And, while I was doing that I had no time to myself.  I was always working, never sitting down and watching TV or taking time to talk with my husband.  There was too much to do if I was going to do it all.  With everything going on, I couldn’t keep it up.

This year I will take just a few things and do them until they are so habitual that I don’t have to think about them.  Then I can add something else… take the next step… baby steps, as the Fly Lady calls them.  See her Baby Steps web page.  It’s a great place to start if you’re wanting to get the chaos out of your home over the next few months.

Getting Started

So this is where I am right now.  I am going to sit down before the 1st and write down what my priorities are, listing the first five only.  (I can tell you that my highest priority is my family.)  Then I’m going to set a couple goals for myself under each priority and start working on those goals using baby steps.  So, based on those priorities, I can make decisions/choices about my activities.  If someone asks me to participate in something, will it help or hinder my goals under my priority list?  If it takes me away from my goals or adds stress to my life (beause I would be saying yes to something for which I don’t really have time to give my best effort), I would need to say, “Thank you so much for thinking about me, but I won’t be able to do that this year.  I just won’t have the time to put my best effort into it.”

My Hope For You

I hope that, instead of just making a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll take time to think through your prioritites and determine whether those resolutions will add stress to your life or make you feel like a failure because you don’t have time or energy to complete them once you start.   Only take on that which will help you reach your goals.  Only set goals for those things/situations that are your highest priorities for the year.  And most of all, make it a…

Happy New Year!

Happy new year

Christmas

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.
English: A bauble on a Christmas tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year I get that “little kid” excitement about the holidays.  As a parent, it’s a lot of work.  But, it’s so worth creating memories for my family.  My husband and I put up the Christmas tree about three weeks before Christmas and we have a family decorating party.  (My husband usually puts on the lights because he’s very detailed and takes time to get them on just right.   I don’t have the patience that he does so I just wind them around the tree.)

I love Thanksgiving through New Year’s so much that I consider the whole time a wonderful holiday season with the primary focus being on Christmas.  We leave the Christmas tree up until New Year’s Day.  That way I take full advantage of every moment of the season.

To me Thanksgiving represents family and thankfulness for all that God provides.  New Year’s represents a new year filled with potential where I can do what is needed to grow in every way… professionally, emotionally, mentally (think of all the things we can learn in the year coming up), spiritually and in so many other ways.  It represents new opportunities to be a blessing to my family and those around me.

But, for me, Christmas is the primary celebration.  Christmas reprents a special focus on the Lord of all Creation who allowed Himself to become a frail and helpless baby, cared for by His own creation, dependent on an earthly mother and father… knowing that His ultimate goal was to live a sinless life so that He could be the sacrifice that paid for our sin.  What amazing love He has for us that He would leave the majesty of Heaven and come to earth to take our punishment (eternal death – meaning eternal separation from the God of Light and Life who created us because God cannot look on sin of any kind… not even a little white lie).  Jesus’ arrival on earth… His birth is what Christmas is all about.

The other thing that Christmas reprents to me is family.  I have so many fond memories of Christmas family times growing up and I want to make special memories for my family as well.  This year my husband and I will be incorporating a couple of new traditions into our family Christmas.   One of them will be a change in the “stockings hung by the fire with care.”  You see, although Santa is a very fun story that we really enjoy, it’s a story, not reality.  We read Santa stories and watch Christmas movies, but our children know that they’re make belief stories that we read or watch because they’re a lot of fun, not because they’re true.  Our kids have always been OK with that and have lots of wonderful Christmas memories.

We have always told our children that Christmas is about Jesus.  And, I’ve read to them the true story about the original Saint Nicholas from where the legends have grown.  We can take the generosity of heart that the original Saint Nicholas (who loved and believed in God) had and create a tradition around that.   We’ll put up our stockings for decoration as usual.  But, there will be an extra stocking for baby Jesus.   In that stocking we will be putting money throughout the season and that money will go toward some special charity or mission.  We have yet to decide which one.  But, that will give our children a little feeling of looking past themselves to something they can do to help others.

Christmas is such a fun time of year and we’re really looking forward to all of the fun, excitement, and enjoyment.