Hello 2017! As a person who loves goals, to-do lists, fresh starts, and clean slates - I've always been pretty huge on New Years Resolutions. Most of the time I even accomplish them! Put it on a list, I will almost always get it done! This both good and bad, which I will explain, but let me start with saying that for 2017 my goals are less tangible. They are more about changing my perspectives and mindset and less about scratching things off of lists. While I still have a list somewhere around here, my main focus this year is more about tackling my major mental hang-ups and finding a better way to live life. There are two major ideas I'm thinking of here:
1) The first thing I keep coming back to is the question "What are you saying yes to?" Let me explain... 2016 was crazy in a lot of ways. I constantly felt like I was swimming upstream and fighting the current. There were so many things I was trying to juggle and stay on top of, and it left me feeling frantic and scrambled. I was always rushing from one task to another and I know for a FACT I got less sleep in 2016 than in any other year of my life, by far.
I kept telling myself I needed to slow down, but until recently, I didn't time to sit down and think about what that really meant. Between getting advice from my mom, reading the book "Present over Perfect", listening to the Lively Show podcast, getting multiple pep talks from Evan (he is awesome), praying, and really reflecting on life, this question... "what are you saying yes to?"... keeps coming up.
I've never been more acutely aware of how much I need/want to do and how quickly the days go by. I know I can't do it all, but honestly I never really stopped to make a conscious decision about what I AM going to do and what I'm going to allow my days and my life to be filled with. I think before I had kids or a house and before reaching a certain level in my career, just moving forward and tackling all things was fine because there was enough time for it all and it felt great! However, I can tell you with complete certainty that is no longer the case! As I reflect on this, I've been realizing I'm taking on roles, chores, obligations, and stress because I'm subconsciously just assuming I have to or because I'm just being reactive to a situation that has presented itself. Sometimes I'm even saying "yes" to things are that intrinsically good things, but maybe aren't the best fit for me in my life and therefore continue to add to the problem. It's tricky! Time to re-evaluate and be more intentional with where I'm putting my time and energy.
Reading the book "Present over Perfect" reminded me of a great lesson in that with everything I'm saying yes to, I need to realize I'm saying "no" to something else. Opportunity cost is real. From the big things to the small things, from the tangible things to the intangible things, this lesson has hit me hard! When I say "yes" to worrying about things at work, I am saying "no" to feeling the joy of the other blessings in my life. When I say "yes" to constantly checking Facebook or Instagram, I'm saying "no" to sooo many other productive or peaceful things. When I say "yes" to new clothes and new toys, I'm saying "no" to a clutter-free, manageable house. When I say "yes" to pop and donuts (which I do far too often!), I'm saying "no" to losing that last 10-lbs of stubborn baby-weight and my health. These are small examples, but let me tell you, I've been practicing this mindset in my life the last month and the little things do add up. I'm applying this in big ways in life too, but maybe am not quite 100% ready to share them on this blog just yet :) Wait and see!
Overall, my first goal is to consistently ask myself and reflect on what I'm saying yes to. Time to get more selective and carve out the activities/feelings that drain me and say yes to the ones that fill me up. And friends, I WANT TO BE FILLED UP! I think if I'm more intentional and aware of these choices, life will subsequently start to feel slower, richer, and sweeter.
2) My second realization = Willpower is for the birds. Honestly, I am SO GOOD at using willpower. It has been a huge key to my success! However, I'm so completely tired of it and my willpower well has run dry. I don't want to feel like accomplishing my goals is like winning an exhaustive battle or running a marathon. I want to be led by joy, peace, and motivation, not by willpower. To me, willpower has become this nagging voice that is saying "ready, set, go!" And then, because I am a driven person, I muster up all my energy to fit a round peg in a square hole. I can almost always make it work, but not permanently and not without it taking a toll on me. Truth be told, I'm at a point in my life where I HATE willpower. Time to let go of being so type A and trying so hard all the time! I'm an inspired, creative, energetic person, and I feel in my heart and my gut that if I just let myself go with the flow a little more (or a lot more!), I will probably accomplish the same goals but do it with a lot less resistance. Jess Lively of "The Lively Show" podcast has been talking about the concepts of "flow" and "alignment before action" on her podcast recently and it has truly spoken to me!
Overall, I feel like these mindset changes will help me gain control while giving up trying to control everything and help me accomplish my goals without trying so dang hard to accomplish my goals.
So while I do still have a list, the way I'm going to go about scratching things off of it is a completely different approach than I've taken in the past. Here's to a healthier, happier, easier year!