What are some of the first things you think about when a new year begins? If you are like the average person, your thoughts probably gravitate to resolutions - eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, wake up earlier, get organized, etc... All of those are very admirable thoughts, certainly!
So, are you making resolutions this year? A few days ago, Lauren and Audrey were chatting about their exciting goals for the new year, and I was lurking. They were pumped up, and it was fun to see their thoughts about getting their homes in order and doing well on their diets (South Beach and Weight Watchers, respectively), journaling and improving the blog.
Me, on the other hand? I wouldn't be honest unless I admitted that I'm still feeling in a bit of a fog. Blame it on the first trimester of this fourth pregnancy (which is almost over, thankfully!), along with the business of keeping up with 3 young kids. But life has been a little grey and drear lately, like just living day-to-day. I feel like all my brain power is focused on making it through the day putting food on the table, cleaning up the worst messes, and keeping the kids from destroying the house and each other. And so, I did not contribute to the goals conversation. :-\
This is so contrary to my normal personality, that it's almost maddening!! Last year about this time, I wrote this post on setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals. I referenced the quote, "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done." I guess that is even more applicable now as I am lacking my natural motivation to set goals and move down the path set before me.
Probably equally applicable right now is my word for 2012 - Mercy. I had to go back and read this post to remind myself. Here's an excerpt:
It hurts, failing. Falling off the wagon. Sometimes it's hard to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and dust yourself off. It seems easier to sit there in the dirt and beat yourself up - "I'm not good enough. I don't know what I'm doing! I'm so bad at this. I give up!" Oh, I have SO been there!
You are your biggest critic. I typically do not see myself as a perfectionist. For most things, I'm content with "good enough." Except when it comes to me and my failings. And then, look out! There's no way I'll ever be good enough for myself.
But, consider this — God, infinitely perfect and unfailing, looks at me through the grace and merit of Jesus, and He sees me as very good. Wow. And He knows our flesh fails, and He loves us anyway, just asking us to keep on seeking the Kingdom and reaching toward the mark.
So, if a perfect God with perfect standards can love me and give me grace when I miss the mark, how can I do any less for myself when I don't measure up to the standards I place on myself?? When I think about it like that, it just seems silly to give up!
(Aren't I smart?? Not really; I believe God gave me those words last year to bless me a full year later.)
I am certainly "off the wagon," though I'm not sure when the falling off happened. I'm at that rough patch where everything looks so big, everything so overwhelming, so daunting, so....discouraging. How can I conquer the mountain when 2 steps forward feel like they are followed by a big step backward??
And here's something else, that wagon — you know the "I'm going to exercise 3 days a week" or "I'm going to make my bed every morning" or "I'm going to resist my tendency toward road rage" wagon — it doesn't keep trucking down the road without you. It stops when you fall off. Don't despair that you can't catch up; don't feel like you'll never get back on the right path. It doesn't work that way. Like the safety on a mower or a treadmill, if you misstep, it waits for you. Your goals are just that - YOURS! So, step out every day in mercy - treat yourself with compassion and forbearance. Press toward the mark, but don't expect to hit it on Day 1. "But grow in grace..." (2 Peter 3:18).Hmmm... Guess a little more thought regarding this year's goals is in order (more likely to happen as first trimester fog burns away). Until then, I guess I'll remember that maybe I'm a smart, capable woman, loved by God, endowed with grace and mercy from above, supported by friends and sisters, and blessed beyond measure. Don't worry, I do know a few things I'm challenged about in 2013 - I'll share those another day.
P.S. Audrey reminded me that I did blow at least one of 2012's goals out of the water - I, the non-runner, not only ran my first-ever 5k race in May, I went on to run another 5k race and 2 10k races before also running a half marathon at 9 weeks pregnant! For 2013, I will be focusing more on, you know, growing a human. ;-) But I am still running (for now) 1-2 times a week, about 3 miles at a time; plus I like to Zumba (sooo fun! You should definitely try it!) 1-2 times a week. I am looking to incorporate more resistance training in short, semi-intense bursts in the near future as well.
P.P.S. For more motivation and goal-setting tips, see this excellent post Audrey wrote last year. And I can't wait to read what she has in store for us this year!