I hope this post finds you well after saying farewell to 2017 and cheers to 2018. A new year. A new you. Right? Out with the old. In with the new. I say this as I roll my eyes (a habit I found myself in trouble for numerous times in my youth), and I say this most definitely with my greatest midwestern-sarcastic voice.
Do you love these annual resolutions or hate them? I have to say I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions.
If in the past month, you’ve turned on the TV, or the radio, looked up at a billboard, stepped into a store...you’ve likely been inundated with goods, services, ideas to support your resolutions as you seek a new you in the new year. I currently have a cooking device sitting in a box, a healthy eating guide I’m 3 pages into, a new planner I so desire to commit to fully, a 30-day yoga plan (this one I’ve been keeping up with...go me!), but you get the idea. So many suggestions as to how I might better myself. It’s January 5th, and I certainly haven’t committed to 5 days of all these wonderful resolution-supporting devices. So, fail. I guess I’ll try again next year. Ho hum.
I looove that as we turn the Christmas corner and prepare for the new year, we are led to pause and reflect on the past year, and take a breath before heading into the new year. I haaate that January 2nd feels like a day of extreme failure if we didn’t dive head-first into the resolution pool. I would love to say I don’t buy into all of that resolution stuff, and maybe I do say that, but the state of overwhelm I found myself in after clinking glasses at midnight on December 31st might say otherwise.
I’m not saying I don’t get caught up in the resolutions, even if I do not name them loudly, but I also think we miss a great opportunity if we focus on them solely. Resolutions sometimes lead us to focus on change, which may lead us to look for imperfections, inadequacies. To focus on the kind of change that means something must be wrong and need fixing. To focus on that pesky empty half of the glass.
But what about the full half?
You’re a rock star. You were last year. And you will be this year. Rather than looking for ways to change, rather than looking for imperfections, let’s look at areas to turn up the volume. Areas of ourselves we want to make even more awesome. Or just see with fresh eyes the great impact we have on those around us already. Maybe seeing ourselves the way others see us would be the perfect resolution. Then I suppose we’d get all high on our horses and have to resolve to be more down-to-earth the following year. Oh boy.
My mom gave me some of the best advice when I was a new mother. On a day when I was reading yet another chapter in yet another book on how to be the perfect parent, she said, “You’re practicing being a mom, and she’s practicing being a baby.” The idea of practicing somehow eased the burden. I no longer felt like a failure at the end of a bad day. I remember many nights telling my little bundle of joy, “We’ll try again tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a better day.” I still carry this idea of practicing with me. It allows me to accept less than perfect. To accept the times I’m unable to cross as many items off my to-do list as I would like. To accept the New Year’s Resolutions that remain in a box, physical or metaphorical, until March. Or until 2021. Or forever. This idea of practicing also leaves space to grow. To adapt. Space to try new things. This space may even lead to change, natural, organic change. It may not happen on a resolution-tight timeline, but it is change nonetheless.
While the idea of New Year’s Resolutions often leaves me thinking about outward changes, like dieting or exercise, I have to admit, listening to others’ resolutions this year has left me so incredibly optimistic. Just this morning I was listening to some am talk show in the car. The hosts were taking callers and asking them about their resolutions. And there came my natural eye-roll (man I have to work on that...oh boy...another resolution...) I admit, I expected to hear about everyone’s favorite fad diet or new exercise program, but that’s not at all what happened. I’m so happy to say I was wrong. I heard one woman proclaim she will be dishing out compliments to strangers daily. I heard a man say he plans to take more time each day to pause and reflect. Another caller stated she is going to focus on gratitude. We seem to be looking inside more than in the mirror. Can you envision the ripple effect of all these positive vibes?!
One of our core values at MAVAN is impact. We work with impact-driven military spouses and impact-driven professionals. We believe together we are making a greater impact within our respective communities and in the world. Leah recently asked our community of Mavans about their transition into the new year. Their responses were so reflective, each desiring inner growth. Each excited for their impact to grow in 2018. A new year can certainly lead us to focus on change. While, I hope the idea of change does not force you to try and pinpoint inadequacies, I do hope the thought of change allows you to make space for growth. With fresh eyes this new year, see the amazing things you already do and the amazing person you already are.
On behalf of Leah and myself, we wish you a happy new year. We can’t wait to see what 2018 holds for each of us. For MAVAN. For you.