The beginning of the New Year is a time of reflection for most people. Goals are on everyone’s mind. So the paper and pencil come out, and we make New Year’s resolutions. I am part of this majority. I even use a fancy pen and pretty paper and begin my extensive list. Most of the time it is a list of at least 20 things I would like to do or accomplish before the next year.
1. I resolve to workout every day.
2. To lose the last bit of baby weight I can’t seem to take off
3. To save money and pay off all my debt
4. To make a home cooked meal every night for my family
5. To write every day and finally write the next Great American Novel
The list goes on and on until thru my resolutions, I begin to see the person I want to be. This person will be happy and have nothing more than small bumps in the road, not the huge roadblocks this other 2013 person has been having. Never, not once, has that worked out for me. I have never kept all of my resolutions, let alone one. Last year I got smart, or so I thought, and narrowed all my resolutions into three categories: Health, family, and writing. I then proceeded to place the millions of resolutions under the right column thinking it might help me keep them. I begin strong. I have all the intentions in the world to do all of these things, every day, and failure is not an option. It is not written into my plan. So why do I not make it past a month?
So I begin to think, I am a mom of two pretty amazing, but busy children. I spend most of my evenings as a taxi, and my weekends as a cheerleader for my soccer player and competitive dancer. But I know many moms who have more than two children, who seem to have it together and work out and make dinner for their family most nights of the week, so it can’t be because I am a mom that I can’t keep my resolutions. I kept thinking. I work full-time as a teacher. Anyone who is in education knows our job doesn’t stop when kids go home. I spend most of my time after my biological kids go to bed, preparing for my classroom kids. Again, there are a lot of pretty great teachers I am blessed to learn from that seem to have it all together. What is my problem then?
I kept thinking, and here is what I have learned to be true in my life:
Failure is inevitable. Disappointments are bound to happen. It’s part of being alive and being human. BUT that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I can’t control every situation or stop negative things from happening. I can, however, control myself. I have decided to be okay with the setbacks, but to not let them hold me back. On my list of resolutions, working out and losing weight has always been on the top. With one missed day, with one french fry too many, my resolve crumbled. My hope for a better me shatters and with everything else I have going on, the pieces are too many to pick back up. Instead, I have allowed my own thoughts to keep me down, and I give up. This year, I did not make a list. It is January 2 and I don’t feel this insane pressure to do everything on my crazy list. I freed myself from the let down of failure. I may not have made an elaborate plan, but I do have things in mind I would like to accomplish and would like to do. However, instead of focusing on the “list,” I will instead focus on the journey of this new year. Embracing my bumps in the road. If I miss a day of working out, so be it. If I have to pick up Subway on my way home from a late night soccer practice, then fine. If I enjoy a mint chocolate chip ice cream on a warm summer evening with my kids, not all hope is lost in my pursuit of a healthier me. I will probably still get down when these things happen, but I’m not going to stay down. Every moment is a new chance. I am going to smile and take that chance.