I have read many posts and essays and articles this week (quite frankly over the years) that speak to resolutions, goals and life-makeovers. I understand the reason for setting goals and making resolutions. I know it is important to have a plan and work toward executing it. Yet, up until this point I have never done it myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have moved forward with my life quite well. Also, I handle any situation thrown at me with confidence, grace and efficiency. However, for 35 years that is all I have done-handled situations…reacted. I have never proactively planned my life, thus I have never consciously executed a plan. My reason, I think has to do with never wanting to fail-or worse, succeed. Also (here’s the kicker) I was never really sure what I wanted my goals to be. My life is pretty great in spite of my lack of vision for it. I guess I have just figured I’d leave well enough alone.
But lately this feeling of not knowing what I want has been unsettling. I am passionate about being a good role model to my children and being aimless does not seem to be much for them to aim for. It is imperative to show my children how to set a goal and work hard. It is imperative to teach them to reach and grow and dream. I want them to always have what they want or at least have the satisfaction of going after what they want. If I don’t teach them, who will?
The problem so far has been figuring out what I want. I am pretty happy with my life, but there has always been something missing. I have always felt there was something bigger out there for me to do.
Then it hit me: I am only truly-to -my-core-happy when I am doing something for someone else.
This week we had a revolving door of family and friends at our house. About mid-week I realized that I was, for the first time in a long time (maybe ever) completely content. There was a peace to me this week that I have rarely, if ever, experienced.
If you were to look at my life right now, you would not expect I would be at peace even for a minute. But being surrounded by loved ones who were dependent on me for a place to eat, sleep, laugh, warmed my spirit into forgetting all the day to day stresses I have in my life.
That feeling, the peace that comes from doing for others, is what I want. That is my goal-obtaining the fulfillment that comes from being a person for others. Can you think of any better thing to model for your children than service?
Here’s the kicker, in order to be someone for others, you have to get your own stuff together first. You have to organize your time and your money and your nourishment enough to be able to turn around and give all those things away. Thus, my resolutions have to do with cleaning my own self up enough to share what I have with others. You can not give what you do not have. So I need to get myself healthy, wealthy and wise.
Resolution number one is the healthy and wealthy part: lose weight/get fit, manage my time and money. I know these seem vague,and huge, but in my own mind and notebook, they are not. I feel no need to bore you with the details of the plan, but I will tell you this; I need accountability and this blog will be it. I will report my progress on the time, money, weight fronts in order to be true to my goals and not let the resolution stay on the January calendar page. I will keep readers up to date on what I have done, what I have learned and how I have grown. Maybe no one reads. It doesn’t matter. Just putting the pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case may be) will keep me honest and that is what I need.
Resolution Number Two is not to wait. My husband often says, “do not let perfect be the enemy of good”. He often says not to do it and I often do it. I almost always wait to get started until everything is perfect for starting. Guess how often everything is perfect? Yep, never. I can not wait to be thinner before I love my body. I can not wait until I am healthier to shop and eat healthy. I can not wait until I am rich to give my money to causes I believe in. I can not wait until I have “extra” time before I donate my time to help another. Most importantly, I can not wait until I know everything about getting thinner, managing time, eating healthy, doing service or building wealth before I begin to DO these things.
I will live every day as if I am already a person who has everything in place to be there for others-including myself. I will treat myself as well as I treat everyone else. This may be the hardest part of all.
Finally, the biggest challenge in all of this, is that I will not wait until my life is perfect to appreciate the perfectness of my life. At first I thought my resolution would be to not complain. But then I realized not complaining is still just reacting-not creating. So instead of just not talking badly, I will talk “goodly”. (I will never use that word again-I swear.) I will celebrate something every day. I will be grateful every day. I recognize some days I may have to search for what I am grateful for, but the mere act of searching will keep me positive instead of just not-negative.
So there they are-the resolutions. I will spend 2010 getting my house in order so that I can fill it with the causes and the people that I love. I will be healthier, wealthier and wiser so that there is more of me to give away. And I will work to appreciate it all-every day.
Away we go!
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.