Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So I'm Still on the New Year's Resolutions....

So I've been reading and thinking about New Year's resolutions some more. As I've said before, I love them. I love the idea of starting over, of changing things I'm unhappy with, being a better person, yada yada yada.  But I'm realizing that true change is more about the 10,000 little decisions we make every day, week and month than starting out all big and bold in January and thinking we're going to change ourselves once and for all. That's how I've done it in the past. Ok. Starting in January I will do such-and-such every single day. Or like someone I know well has resolved to do, I won't eat any sweets all year long. (That would NEVER be me, by the way. Never!) We think that all of a sudden we are going to be the person we want to be. In one fell swoop. Just because it's January and a new year. And we have all of this resolve.

But all that happens is that we fail. Then we get discouraged because we're falling into the same habits as before January. We get defeated and maybe even give up. Which of course defeats the purpose of doing the resolutions in the first place. Realizing that it's many many little choices we make every day kind of takes the pressure off though. We don't have to change everything that needs changing at one time. It's one decision here to choose to turn around and listen to my son instead of mindlessly nodding as I type on the computer. It's another little one there to choose to sit down and read a book to my baby when I feel like doing something more "constructive" like cleaning. Or asking my husband about his day when I really want to complain about mine. It's choosing to adjust my tone and choose love when I'm really quite angry at the moment.

Don't get me wrong. I still like the idea of evaluating ourselves yearly or whenever else we decide to take a look at how things are working out for us. I think we want more for ourselves than what we are. We realize we are not where we should or could be. And that's good. That's healthy. I'm not sure I'd want to be around the person who felt like they had nothing they needed improving on. But I also think we like resolutions because we still think if we work hard enough, we can make ourselves acceptable to others or maybe to ourselves. Or even God. I know I'm guilty of that. I still think I can do it myself. I want the control. I want to make it happen. And for some reason, I think I can through sheer willpower.

But I'm really beginning to like this idea that it's more about the tons of little choices we make each day. Those are what really shape us anyway if you think about it. And it's about grace when we make the many bad choices that we make every day. As long as we keep moving forward, forgiving ourselves when we fail and learning from our mistakes, we will improve and grow. It's a process, not a one-time deal. And that's okay. I think I can live with that.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I'm just wondering: why is change so hard? Don't they say awareness is half the battle? It doesn't seem to be for me. I want to be a more compassionate, loving parent. I want to be patient and attentive with my kids. I realize that I take things too personally sometimes. I immerse myself in parenting articles - the positive parenting, attachment parenting and all the rest. I know it's a paradigm change. Yet still I find myself being harsh. Over and over again. Doing things I know are pretty much useless. Like barking orders from the other room while I get dinner or type on the computer. Like yelling and trying to force them to behave the way I want them to.

Old habits die hard. But why? Why do we continue to do things that we don't want to do? Why is it so hard to break cycles? Or maybe the better question is: how do we break cycles? How do we make the changes we KNOW we should make?

I don't have any answers. I'm just wondering.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year and All That Jazz

Well, I see I crashed and burned last year. I posted every day in April for a challenge and never blogged again. Hm. Ok. So I've got good excuses. I have a baby and a 10-year-old. That blogging every day for a month thing wore me out. I'm busy. I'm a perfectionist so unless I can say it exactly as I want to, I just don't write at all. Yeah, that's helpful.

I love the new year. Fresh starts and all that. In fact, if I go back and re-read in January last year, I will bet you I said the exact same thing. But I do. I love the idea of having a clean slate. Of doing things better than I have done them before. So many ideas in my head. How to be a better mom. Working on writing goals. Cleaning up the house.

So. Here I sit. Again. A new year. Wanting to be better. Wanting to do better. And knowing I will fail. Again and again. Just like I did last year. But maybe the important thing is to keep trying. To not give up. So many ideas of what I want to do. But is trying harder really the answer? Isn't that what we keep doing? Maybe I need to let go of my perfectionism and just write. That's what I'm doing now. Maybe I need to let go of trying to figure everything out. And let God direct me in what I do. In the goals I set. In the resolutions I make. Maybe the only really important resolution is to decide to spend more time with God. To KNOW Him. Not for what He can give me. Not for answers to my prayer requests. Not for whatever is on my agenda. But just to KNOW Him. To spend time with Him. And let Him decide what is important. Let HIM direct my year. My month. My week. Each day.

 I read a very good blog post a little while ago. It was about falling forward. When you fail and mess up, instead of focusing on the bad, on the past, you can choose to fall forward. To focus on what's in front of you. To plunge headlong into what's before you. And really what choice do we have? To keep plodding along. Through all the ugliness and failures. Through the frustrating patterns we repeat again and again and again. That's not a very optimistic way of looking at a new year. I think I just depressed myself. But sometimes plodding is all I can do. And that's okay. Because God is always with me. In my plodding days - those days I'm overwhelmed at deciding what to have for dinner, much less anything else. And in my more hopeful days. He's there. Always.