Monday, January 1, 2018

Resolutions Without Goals

I ended 2016 facing a full-scale burn-out. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, my work held "wellness workshops" and we were "cautioned to look for the signs of burn-out. I could check a box next to every single symptom.

I struggled with how to keep my life in balance while maintaining all of the things.

And you know what? It didn't work.

Sure, for a while there, I really could do it all. 

I could feel like a halfway decent parent, wife, friend, teacher, and maintain my other interests (hobbies that turned into businesses).  Upon closer inspection, though, I really...wasn't. Something always lost.

I spent much of 2017 trying to restructure my priorities, and it became abundantly clear that hobbies needed to remain just that - my life could not support deadlines (self-imposed or required by other organizations) or engagement requirements. 

In March, I vowed to say yes less, to stop adding to my list of "priorities" (because when the list is so long, is anything really a priority?). In April, I checked in with myself and realized I liked how it felt to stop doing all of the things. In August, after a summer focused on entirely new things, I started to re-align my priorities. In September, I officially parted ways with my direct sales businesses. It's been a long year of reflection, of self-evaluation, of realizing that these goals I had for myself were only getting in the way of any real progress.

So, I am not starting 2018 with any big, tangible goals. I am happy with where I am career-wise (at least for the moment). As much as I once wanted recognition as a writer, photographer...blogger, I have to let all of that go.  It may feel like giving up - and in some ways, it is - but I'm also opening myself up to something bigger - the opportunity for God to move within my life. I'm giving up some of my intense control...which terrifies me.

What kinds of resolutions does someone with no specific goals set, then?

Face the day with grace and gratitude - I have slowly worked my way through Emily Ley's Grace Not Perfection (I still have a ways to go), and this new mantra stands out to me. I have a personal struggle granting others grace. I'm constantly at work on myself, and I grow easily frustrated with others who aren't in a place of growth. It's a weakness, a failing, and I don't like that quality in myself.  I'm vowing to change it. 

My husband's grandfather gave a dinner blessing our first night in Oklahoma for the holidays. This classic cowboy said, "Dear Lord, we have all that we need, and we are thankful for it." And I kept repeating that to myself for the rest of the trip. I don't lack for anything, and I am immensely grateful for what I have.  And I need to remind myself of that daily.

Focus on health - I let a lot of things get in the way of my fitness and health.  If I can't find the right fitness group, I give up. If I can't afford cross-fit. If I feel bad about leaving my kids in the daycare center (even though they always have a blast). If I get frustrated with my daughter's hatred of the stroller.  If I complete a challenge and then don't do anything for weeks.  My fitness is the first thing to go to make room for something new, and that has to change.

Spend time with those who matter most - Whether by text, phone, or actually in person, I will focus more on the people I want to have in my life. I get caught in the trap of social media feeling like an authentic connection, and in reality, it's not (at least not for me - y'all do what works best for you!). 

That's it.  And it's a lot. 

But I'm relieved to not have numbers to track (three workouts a week! sell, sell, sell!) or followers to count. 

This is the year I finally don't do all of the things.

Happy 2018.


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