Why New Year’s Matters

At least, why it matters to me. Without a doubt someone somewhere has already debated this topic. There are probably categorized theories, documented research, well and poorly written books…none of which I am bringing to the table. This post is off the cuff and a reflection of just my own experiences and personality.

It matters to celebrate and it matters to reflect and New Year’s Day gives us a chance to do that EN MASSE.  All around the world people will be gearing up for the New Year. This isn’t about partying (although that’s a typical norm for many); my “celebration” of the New Year will probably be nothing more than a quiet moment or two of reflection. A “Huh, last year was pretty great. I’m excited for this new one.” Nothing fancy-but it is still a significant moment for me; a moment of deeper self awareness, and as I get older my view broadens to a greater global awareness. New Year’s provides a good opportunity to do this, whether you take advantage of it is up to you. As much as we like to glorify self reliance, we people were designed to love, and love requires connection. The New Year can be a simple connection point, an experience that millions of us are participating in around a 24 hour period. Yes, I realize some cultures do not celebrate New Year’s Day on the First, but many do, and even those who celebrate the New Year on a different day still do so in a manner of reflection and celebration. It matters that we all mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

It gives us a starting point, a blank slate so to speak. There are probably theories on the effective-or ineffectiveness-of nailing down goals on the New Year. But whether you write them out with a detailed plan of attack or just vaguely think about them, the New Year creates an atmosphere of starting fresh. You can’t, of course, ever completely start over. But you can challenge yourself, push your limits, or even just create a vacuuming schedule ( 😛 ). You don’t know what you are completely capable of. The New Year is one time of year where-whether you pursue them or not-the idea of improvement is front and center. This matters. I think we need this more then we get it because ALL of us need to improve. All. Of. Us.

As far as goals go-I do best with New Year’s resolutions. They’re just tidier in my book. There is something satisfying about starting a goal on January first and checking it off on December 31st. I’ve started projects and goals mid year and been successful-but I am MOST successful if I start in January. If I can’t get something rolling by January-chances are it won’t happen.

So make some goals, people. Or resolutions. Or life vision quest challenges. Or whatever you want to call them. But when you do so, here are a few things that I keep in mind to make mine more successful.

  1. Make them measurable (we’ve all heard this one, it isn’t new, it’s still good advice).
  2. Have accountability.
  3. PLAN. I cannot emphasize this enough, coming from a completely disheveled, disorganized background-planning makes all the difference on completing a goal and missing the mark. Create a plan, follow the plan, tell others about the plan.
  4. Be prepared to fail-successfully. You may not achieve all of your goals, but if you’ve even partially moved towards it in the right direction then this is progress. It is a “failed” goal, sure. But you’re closer to achieving it then you were when you started and this is a successful failure.
  5. Related to the above point, don’t despair. (HA! “Don’t despair, prepare to fail!” How’s that for a catch phrase). You may get derailed a few times (hey, life happens) but that doesn’t mean you need to completely toss in the towel. Be aware that this happens to the best of us. Pick yourself up, try again. If your goal was to read a chapter every night before bed and you miss a week of reading by the second week of February-don’t give up, still try to read every night for the remainder of the year (even though, let’s be honest, this is a completely unreasonable goal for most of us) and maybe tick of a calendar box every night you are able to so that you can measure your progress. At the end of the year you can tally up how many days you read and that’d still be a pretty cool number to see.
  6. Build on previous goals, or repeat them. Supposedly it only takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, it takes me less then 3 to break one if that is the case.To be a creature of habit I have to WORK at it. Which means some goals I repeat to keep myself on track, or I expand on the success of a previous goal to keep that area of my life moving in the right direction.
  7. Figure out the TYPE of goals that work for you. For example, say you want to get healthier in the New Year. Are you a “lose 20lbs” type of guy or a “workout once a week” type of girl? Or maybe a “read three nutritional books this year” individual? Whatever angle works best for you, THAT is what you need to put in your goal. If you want to increase your amount of exercise, improve your nutritional know-how, master a cooking skill-whichever gets you closer to your overarching goal of healthy living.

Lastly, y’all. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Introspection is good. Goals are good. Not being able to relax enough to enjoy the blessings you’ve been given is not good. Find the balance, walk the line between focused and obsessive. Laugh at yourself.

Here are some things I discovered about myself in 2015 that I find not just a little bit embarrassing/amusing.

  1. I technically have a home business. HA! Oh man, I feel like I’m checking off some military spouse right of passage. Next year I might open up an Etsy shop, you never know.
  2. I can’t pretend not to be  health nut anymore when I get excited about finding coconut aminos in the commissary.
  3. I like the taste of organic stuff better. I mean, I’m not ready to jump on all of the organic bandwagon because I tend to be a skeptic when it comes to the latest and greatest healthy whatever (seriously, is coffee good or bad for you? What about wine?)-but dude, it does taste better. Especially eggs. But also chicken. And produce. Ok, usually all of it. Maybe because I am cooking with far less sugar and salt so I can actually taste the difference? I dunno, but it’s a difference I’m willing to pay for and the lack of pesticides is nice. I’ve totally crossed over to the dark side haven’t I?
  4. I, the child who had piles of stuff a couple feet deep in her room, is now tossing/donating things left and right and LOVING it. No duplicates. If it doesn’t get used, pitch it. If I don’t wear it, pitch it. If the boys don’t play with it, pitch it. PITCH IT ALL! (Or donate. Actually mostly donate, but PITCH IT ALL sounds more fun). There is such irony in this. I used to obsess over saving pipecleaners I was sure I could untwist and reuse, and tiny, tiny shreds of scrap fabric that would eventually disintegrate into threads.

That’s it for tonight, tomorrow I’ll have my Resolutions up and running. Happy New Year everyone! Take a moment to reflect and celebrate, even if it’s in your pj’s while browsing Facebook. 😉

 

Snooking Up Hoflakes

^^^ I meant to say, “Hooking up snowflakes” but my tired brain turned our kid friendly conversation PG13. Decorating with toddlers is not for the faint of heart…

This extended visit with family has been nuts, y’all. I cherish the healthy, happy relationships I have with my family and in-laws, and family is a priority for me-I want the boys to know their Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. This is tough being military since we’ve been in for 7 years and lived in 4 different states already. Holidays are especially frustrating for me because I wrestle with seasonal depression every winter-so annoying. So I knew this trip was going to be rough. I knew it was also something I needed to do.

Oh man. I brought my bag of ShakeO-which with it’s full compliment of B vitamins (include happy lovin’ B12) has been helping to keep me just above emotional exhaustion. And it tastes better than the pill supplements I usually take this time of year, ha. Grandparents have been awesome-spotting me naps here and there, providing an outlet for the boys’ need to hug/tackle people, and generally giving me a break. I miss Brian-it’s like a mini deployment, boo. I have NOT been able to exercise regularly. 🙁 A number of things have contributed to that, but it’s a bummer all the way around.

I’ve come to the realization that I am now REALLY sensitive to sugar and caffeine. I went in knowing I was going to bend my typical diet (diet as in “foods I usually consume” not diet as in “weird list of restrictions/rules pertaining to eating” ) because it’s the holidays and I was not going to stress about it. So I didn’t stress. I had coffee and oreos and ice cream whenever I felt like it (read:daily). After a few days I couldn’t drag myself out of bed and I had a perpetual headache drugs didn’t touch. So no more of that. Or at least, far, far less, haha. I still like the above foods, but whoa, not enough to deal with feeling pummeled by a dump truck. I’m feeling much better now, and I am still indulging in sweet tea which is enough caffeine and sugar for me. Is there such a thing as a sugar hang over? Also, I just can’t do fastfood. Instant gross. Not only does it taste gross, it feels gross. Bleeeeeeaaarrggh. I don’t miss it.

Big perks though-I still cook dinner most nights, and I don’t have ANY leftovers because my parents eat it. 😀 I LOVE having my food EATEN. I can cook meals that I like-regardless of whether the boys will eat it or not-and I know I won’t have to eat leftovers for the next four days! And, on that note, I really like home cooked meals better than eating out. Don’t get me wrong, there are nights when I want to eat out just because I really don’t feel like cooking, but I used to like eating out for the sake of the food. Now I eat out for the sake of not cooking-my mom and I can make better tasting food at the house.

That’s my update for now. I’m getting really excited about the Hammer and Chisel program Brian and I are doing together starting January 4th-oh how nice it will be to exercise faithfully again! There’s still time to join us if you’re looking for a way to get healthier in 2016. And if not that program, there are many, many other options. I know people now, lol.

But seriously, maybe think about a few wellness goals for the new year?