Today is January 1, 2022. I’m intentionally writing this morning to reflect on anything I’ve learned in 2021 and desires I have for this new year. I hope not to do so in a dramatic way with lofty ambitions and rose-colored glasses. If we never stop to consider how things are going, I bet we’re likely to just keep on doing more of the same. Maybe that’s good, but it also makes a lot of space for poor habits to continue settling into our bones.
2021 had grief, sickness, new opportunities, relationship strains, medical advancements that balanced health, big changes, maturity, travel, a move, reconnections, and therapeutic conversations. I purposely bounced between positive and negative in that list because it’s LIFE; an up and down marathon. When I consider the more difficult experiences, it brings up things I’d like to work on improving. For example, with the loss of my father this year, I realize even more how valuable the opportunity is of still having my mother. One of my values is quality family time (see ACT, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, for more), so in order to practice living with that value in mind, I want to prioritize more intentional time with my Mother. I haven’t run that by her (hi, Mom!), but I hope she’s ok with it. The one simple value of quality, intentional family time can pour out into my everyday life in many ways and can have a domino effect. 2021 certainly brought me wonderful insight into how revolutionary value-based living can be (I found this rather simple and helpful resource, if you care to learn more).
My best friend uses a word of the year, which I began last year because of the influence its had in her life. Last year I chose GRAY in hopes of choosing to better accept uncertainty and the unknown. Although it did not serve as a dramatic guiding light for me, I can look back and see several areas where I began to practice accepting things as they are and recognizing when my expectations were out of line. I give great credit to the counseling I’ve been a part of this past year.
I have had two words bouncing around in my mind over the last several weeks as I think about values, goals and changes I want to make. BALANCE & PRACTICE. They uniquely tie together in a way I’ve never considered. I have spent years beating myself up for my lack of self-discipline and motivation. I would try to use self-control when it came to alcohol and social media, or attempt self-discipline with household tasks and exercise, but I continued to fail. Failing to me meant not doing it perfectly, every time, on a regular basis. Just yesterday I heard an analogy using a donkey and carrot. If we want a donkey to follow our lead, we can use a carrot or a stick; both will get the donkey moving, but which do you think he prefers?
My hopes for 2022 include PRACTICING BALANCE in living a life that is VALUES BASED. For me, that looks like:
intentional time with my children
quality family time
gentle care for my body and mind
prioritizing my relationship with and learning about Christ
organization in my home
closeness with my husband
being brave in making and developing friendships
engaging in the creative arts
If you’re not a fan of setting New Year’s Resolutions, I hear you. As I grow older, I’m seeing the frailty in those type of goals. I would encourage you to consider what is most important to you; not just goals, but what would a nourishing, valuable life look like to you?
I wish you much joy and the peace of Christ, dear reader. Happy New Year!