Posts Tagged ‘Resolutions’

My Resolution for 2016

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I thought I wasn’t a resolution kind of person, but I’m actually finding a way to make the New Year’s Resolution thing work for me. Last year my resolution was to doodle more and call it art. And that worked because it was something that my heart and soul needed!

Resolutions that don’t work for me are those that my inner critic “shoulds” me into. I know I should exercise more, I should get out more, I should keep my temper in check, and I should write X number of words everyday.

Oh, I should do a great many things.

Whenever I’ve based resolutions on these kinds of “shoulds,” two things generally happen: (1) I fail quickly, and (2) I feel even worse about myself when I don’t measure up.

There are always going to be the “shoulds” of life and they are relentless. Even if I successfully fulfilled one of the “shoulds,” there would be another and another and another. I could run myself ragged trying desperately to be who I think I should be and do what I think I should do.

It is an exercise in futility. And is the fast-track to burnout.

I think I’m still recovering from my burnout of 2014–that was a year with a lot of “shoulds” and I ended up dropping a lot of things by the end of that year.

I’ve tried since that year of burnout to pick back up only the things that I can’t not do. Maybe that’s a weird way to say it but it makes sense in my head. I mean, there are all kinds of influences that tell me what I should do, but there is often a still, small voice that gives me sweet inspiration. These are the things I can’t not do because if I don’t do them, then my heart and soul atrophy, and wilt.

When I follow what the “shoulds” tell me, good may come of it. But just as likely I will feel run ragged.

But when I listen to that still, small voice and do what I’m inspired by it to do, then good always comes of it. That goodness is sometimes just something that happens in my own spirit–joy, relief, energy, vision, etc. But most often that goodness radiates out to others who see or hear what I’ve done or who I interact with after having done it.

With all of this in mind, I am making my 2016 resolution as inspired by that still, small voice.

Oh, the “shoulds” clamored at me as the calendar was beginning to turn. They wanted to weigh in with their demands of how I ought to be better, smarter, kinder, more social, and so on. And they make some good points.

It was tricky, but I let those “shoulds” recede into their din.

I focused in on what my heart and soul truly need in this new year. Then I came up with something beautiful and rich and life-giving. It is so simple as almost to be ignored for its profoundness. I know now that the single, most important resolution I can make is…

Create and call it therapy.

This is somewhat of an extension of last year’s resolution, yet it is more broad to account for the various forms of creativity I enjoy. At the same time, this year’s resolution is more specific–that the purpose of creating is to be therapeutic for me.

I wrote once before about how ranging so broadly creatively has made it hard to feel like I have something to “show” for myself. But creating for the sake of therapy frees me from worry about where any of it will end up, and allows me to create whatever I need to whenever I need to.

There is part of this resolution that sounds a bit selfish. And I really don’t want to be selfish. Relationships and the connectedness of us all are very important to me. It’s just that I know that when I am creating art/music/writing, that it shifts my spirit in a way that helps me relate better.

When I let myself be dominated by my inner critic–“shoulding” all over myself–I feel worse about myself and I behave worse toward others. I sometimes shut down and withdraw altogether even in relationships that are the most important to me.

I assure you, even if this new resolution sounds selfish, it has all of our best interests at its heart.

May you too find the resolve to do that which nourishes your heart and soul in this new year!

Starting a New Year Presently

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Over the past few years I’ve noticed bloggers doing this thing where they pick a word for their year. I don’t totally know how it is supposed to work, and since I was doing well just to start this thing part-way into last year, I didn’t worry about picking a word. I just needed to start.

But this year, I wanted to pick a word. Well, it’s not so much that I wanted to pick a word as that God kept laying this one idea on my heart–over and over. So, I wanted to put a word to it for 2014.

The idea that God has been nudging me toward has come with a number of different words: “showing up,” being “incarnational,” and such like.

Basically, my natural inclination is to retreat. When I’m super stressed out, I probably need a good stretch of solitude to right myself.

I don’t withdraw to avoid conflict. In fact, I’m surprisingly comfortable navigating interpersonal rifts and engaging opposing viewpoints.

But I do like to escape into my inner-world. I have a super-active thought-life that doesn’t slow down–ever. In my previous post titled Why I Love Conferences Even Though I’m an Introvert (click the title to read that post), I explained, “I can be in a crowd of people and be totally withdrawn into my own thought-world.”

I don’t consciously try to shut people out, but this natural inclination to retreat does mean that I have to consciously make myself get out, reach out, and be connected to others.

At first when we moved to this super rural community I was a little troubled by the fact that there wasn’t a paying job for me way out here in the Texas countryside. As time has gone on, what I have found is that this easy country life has been a great opportunity to do the writing that I have wanted to do. And the preaching & speaking opportunities have come just often enough that I can bring in a little income for my family.

All the same, this country life has made it easier than ever in my life to retreat to a fault. And my dear husband is so supportive of my writing and preaching and speaking that he lets me retreat whenever I need to. This is great when I need it, but not great when I am needed elsewhere.

So the big challenge for me is pushing myself to get outside of myself more despite how easy it is to retreat. With that, my word for 2014 is…

Present

I’ve never been very big on New Year’s Resolutions–mostly because making resolutions all-of-a-suddenly, out of nowhere seems like a recipe for failure. But this word, this idea of being present has come from quite some time of reflection and I am indeed resolved to work at it in 2014.

Some specific ways I want to live this out are:

  • Getting up & ready by X time everyday, so I can be ready for unexpected opportunities to be present with others.
  • Putting events on my personal calendar as soon as I learn of them so I can make sure to be present at events that are too easy to forget without planning for them.
  • Writing on the blog 1-2 original posts each week so I can continue to cultivate a consistent online presence.

This is new territory for me in choosing a word and making resolutions. But New Year’s is generally an upswing for me as my birthday falls on the third day of each new year (yes today). So, I am optimistic about my resolve to live into this intentionality of presence. Pluswhich, somehow 2013 was the best year of my life so far, so I want to be fully present for whatever 2014 might bring.

This post is part of the January 2014 Synchroblog: New Beginnings. See what other Synchroblog contributors are saying about their New Beginnings: