Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Well, it's that time of the year again--time to reflect on the past and decide what areas of my life need major adjustments so I can write down a list of goals I will probably forget to look at again until next year. Not before beating myself up for the next month or two trying to meet my unrealistic expectations first, of course. I do believe strongly in setting goals and have seen the effects of effective goal setting numerous times in my life; however I seem to have a knack for thinking I can become nearly perfect in just 365 days' time, writing down expectations that drag me down more than help me improve, simply because they are too harsh. Can anyone relate?

At the end of 2007, I found myself on my knees thanking God the year was finally over. It was a tough one for me, and I felt thankful to have survived it with my sanity still in tact. I was optimistic 2008 would be better, and as I reviewed my list of lofty goals (mostly unmet) for the previous year, I determined to try something new. Instead of listing three to five big goals in each area of my life--spiritual, physical (does anyone make New Year's Resolutions that don't include exercise? I didn't think so), mental, emotional--I decided to take an entirely different approach. When December came, I wanted to look back over the year and know I had reached every goal I had set. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I was tired of letting myself down and tired of feeling like I had failed; I was ready to bask in the feeling of success.

Thus, I sat down and wrote TWO goals. 1) Soak up every moment with my children
2) Do something every week to show my husband I love him

The first goal may seem a little vague, but I knew I wanted to enjoy my children more--to love them and laugh with them more often, to speak more kindly, to read to them more often, to hold them and hug and kiss them more regularly. If there is one thing I am aware of it's how quickly they are growing up, and more than anything, I don't want to look back and regret that I didn't enjoy each stage of their lives more. Motherhood is so hectic, so demanding, so exhausting, I find I have to make a deliberate effort to not get so caught up in the job of motherhood that I forget why I wanted to be a mother in the first place.

The other part of our family equation is my marriage, and although my relationship with my children is of prime importance to me, I don't want it to distract me from an even more important relationship--the one with my husband. I know I can never truly be happy if I am not serving and looking out for my better half. It's way too easy for me to be selfish and demanding, but I know that does not make our home the happy place I want it to be. I am fortunate enough to be married to a patient, selfless, understanding man, and I wanted to try to reciprocate that.

How did I do? Believe it or not, I did okay. Of course these are two areas that will need constant improvement, but filtering out all of my other expectations made it possible for me to really focus on these two goals, and I made huge strides. I enjoyed more moments with my children, became a more patient listener, held and hugged and loved them more often and with more feeling, and I enjoyed motherhood more. I also learned to appreciate a husband who is a dedicated, patient, active father.

So, this year I think I will try the same approach. I realize I may not be improving at a very fast rate, but at least I'm moving in the right direction. It sure beats the pit I feel in my stomach when I think about taking hours to write down goals I'm not good at reaching.

And who knows? I may even be able to handle THREE goals next year!!:)


The Martinez Fam said...

What a great idea. I always learn so much from reading your posts. I find myself setting goals for myself to be more like you!!:)

Becky said...

I like this idea too. I keep wanting to do more and more too, but just focusing on the small simple things, the other huge big things will fall into place.

Glitzy Glass said...

yeah, I have not done that yet, I will, it is a goal . . .funny

Julia said...

Thanks, Lori...I really needed to read that today. I'm so glad you married Dan, and I agree, he is great!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Those are some awesome resolutions. Ones that are really worth making and keeping.

Abby said...

I think you are amazing Lori...I am so glad to know you. I love reading your insights, they make me want to be a better person. Thank you for that!

Love ya,