Friday, January 11, 2013

One Step at a Time {New Year's Resolutions}

Just take the steps forward that you can see.
Trust God with the destination.
As I have gotten older, I have realized that my second favorite holiday is New Year's (nothing beats Christmas!). My personality very much likes change just for the sake of keeping things interesting, and I am constantly evaluating myself and looking for areas that need adjustment. So New Year's has become one of my favorite times of year! It is a natural place in the flow of life that many people stop and examine their lives. We look at where we are and where we want to be. As Christians, we also benefit from the reminder to ask God what HIS plans for us are.

As I look back through the 10+ years I've been an adult, I can see so much growth in my life! Sometimes I get SO down on myself for being such a loser (does anyone else feel that way now and then?!), but I know God really has brought me far. I have so much farther to go, but I have also learned to be excited about the journey, and patient for my lessons. I don't have to have arrived in every area (or any, for that matter) to be in His will. Progress, not perfection, right?? This is true of my marriage, my relationship with my children and others, my personal development, my daily habits, everything! The key is that I am pushing forward with perseverance and faithfulness. So this time of year encourages me when I reflect on where I've come from.

During this holiday (if that's what it is...), I sometimes have to be careful not to let myself off the hook too easily. One thing I've noticed in life is that we tend to look at our own weaknesses as not as consequential as someone else's, and vice versa -- we look at our strengths as more valuable than someone else's. Like if people who are more naturally disciplined look down their noses at those who struggle to stick with something, not realizing how impatient they are themselves. Or if people who are quick thinkers don't value those who take their time to give an answer, not realizing they might need to take their time and listen better. People who rise early think they are more holy than those who stay up late, or the other way around! "This isn't even hard; why can't she do it?!" {All examples used are fictitious;  any resemblance to real-life people is totally by chance. :-) } Obviously I'm talking to myself here. I am very prone to this. (Sorry, that kind of got off on a rant ha!) The moral of that story is that we all have areas we MUST improve in and cannot let ourselves off the hook simply because we think we aren't as bad as X person over there. We also need to give each other grace in their own journeys. That's another reason I like this time of year -- it grounds me and helps me learn humility through examining all of my many problem areas.

I think it's good too, to ask a spouse or loved one for their input on areas you can improve in, but only if you can take it with humility and a pure desire for growth. :-) And even if you don't do that, I encourage you to share your goals and focus areas with that person. Nothing brings intimacy, especially with a spouse, like vulnerability. In fact, I would argue close camaraderie cannot exist without it.

So after a lot of ado, and without any more, I shall now bare my heart and make myself vulnerable to you all, by sharing some of my goals for this year. I think Audrey is exactly right that you have to break your goals down into tasks, and where applicable, into habits.

Lauren's 2013 Growth Areas

Lose weight and get in shape (#1 New Year resolution I think??)

After I have a baby, my hormones go wacky and I gain a lot of weight FAST!!!! It's really shocking. And discouraging. But it is what it is, and I'm determined to fight back. My tactical plan is:
  • South Beach Diet -- low-carb works great for my body type. I'm down 7.5 lbs already!
  • Work out -- I have a gym membership and have been going faithfully!

Develop a quiet time habit

I have a lot of baggage with the phrases "Quiet Time" or "Devotion." But I'm determined this year not to let those issues hold me back from connecting with God daily. My husband has stated that the Blake word of the year is going to be "thrive." Regardless of circumstances, hangups, or excuses. I like that. :-) First plan of action:
  • Just develop the habit with no expectations. I am reading through Psalm 34 very slowly right now, and answering a certain set of questions about each chunk of verses I read.
  • Ask God for inspiration and encouragement as I try to develop this.

Make my home a haven

This is always one of my goals, and something I have to constantly work on. I want my husband to come home and sigh with relief when he walks through the door into peace and order. I want my adult children to remember the home they grew up in as one of neatness and comfort. This is sooooo hard for me! I'd rather just hang out and chat, or cook yummy food and make a big mess. :-)
  • Persevere with my daily routines
  • Get rid of stuff. No extra stuff can be tolerated!
  • Add bits of pretty as the budget and my creativity allows 

Grow closer to my husband and kids

I believe that the husband is the head of the home, but the wife is the heart. She is the glue that bonds a family together. I want to be intentional this year about developing relationships with my children individually, not just as a group. And I want to continue to grow even closer to my husband. I want him to be excited to see me at the end of the day, and I want to be the person he would rather spend time with than anyone else.
  • Have 1-on-1 outings with the older kids when possible. My husband wants to do this too.
  • Pray for patience. 'nuff said.
  • Spend more time reading to/with the kids.
  • Play music or take a short nap or whatever I need to be cheerful and happy when Zack gets home.
  • Plan one non-traditional at-home date night per month. (something besides the typical documentary/popcorn after kids are in bed)

Improve my piano skills

Playing the piano is one of my greatest pleasures as an adult, and I believe strongly in the importance of learning music as children grow. But I n.e.v.e.r. make time to practice. I'm going to change that this year!
  • Practice for 15-30 minutes per day for at least 5 days a week
  • Work on memorizing music like I used to be required to do. I can feel my memorizing ability slipping! 
I do have more, but this is enough for now. :-)

I love this fresh, clean slate that 2013 has brought us! I am determined to make the most of it.

What are your goals, whether they are new or not? How do you plan to carry them out?

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