It hit me this morning. It is day 22 of the new year, and we are three weeks into 2017. Time has once again fleeted me. It has a sneaky way of doing such. Being so present yet silently avoiding me.
I did not choose a typical, straightforward resolution this year. I did not set myself up for the stress of fear of failure or the guilt of changing tides when I suddenly remember, oh I was to eat better and indulged in two coffees, a slice of birthday cake, two beers and three slices of pizza today. Gulp!
No, I decided instead of pushing myself into something for sake of 2017 replacing 2016 on every check I write, that I would choose a path of self focus and inner self waking.
I saw a friend share a post shortly after the new year and it read something about not having a resolution but instead intentions. I felt drawn to the words and the concept. I have never been successful with resolutions, and while, I tend not to subscribe to the philosophy of just because it did not work before doesn’t mean it won’t again, I do recognize the level of pressure I put on myself to fulfill a set promise and make myself miserable in the long run.
Day 22 and I am choosing to reveal my 2017 intentions with you. One is simplicity. This intention is filled with many layers, but if I had to choose my word of the year it would be this. Simplifying provides clarity and reduces my stress levels. I am actively simplifying in so many ways.
- Not loading my weekends and days off with too many to-dos. Working in time for relaxation is super important. The list will continue to grow and I will continue to need to accomplish more, but recognizing it does not all need to be done right now has been liberating.
- Learning to say “no.” In the most respectful way, simplifying is an act of stripping away the restrictions that hold us back. With time I have learned that saying “no” is not necessarily a negative perception we place on ourselves and others. Instead saying “no” can really be a person’s intuition guiding them.
- Shedding the baggage. I have used these 22 days to clean-up and organize. I have donated bags of clothes, thrown away three year expired food and beauty products, packed up clothes that filled Lo’s drawers but were two sizes too small and deposed of bills and papers that heaped in a pile on my desk. I feel with each bag of trash, I am stripping away the clutter. Minimization can be a beautiful thing!
- Focusing on simplicity and human interaction. Saying thank you to a co-worker to recognize their hard work, snuggling with Lo a little longer and kissing my husband when I walk in the door. Things I knew were important but failed to place the weight behind them. Once you do this awhile the act starts to become a habit.
Lastly, grace. What a beautifully heavy word. I am working very diligently on giving grace to others and most importantly myself. It is a selfless favor to take a deep breath and allow kindness and love to prevail.
- Learn to say “I am sorry.” This is a quality of grace that I am practicing. Maybe you did the wrong or maybe you were wronged against, regardless, taking the high road for sake of relationship effort and love, involves the words, “I am sorry.” Having grace may break the ice, initiate healthy dialogue and provoke the act of forgiveness.
- Empathy is a critical element to working with others. We tend to want others to feel empathy for us, but not that other way around. I am actively attempting to really put myself in someone else’s shoes. I find it helps with seeing a situation from a new perspective and allowing me to be more gracious in my efforts.
- Biting my tongue. Yes, saying nothing at all sometimes is the best advice I can give others and myself. I do not always need an opinion. I do not need to let you know I disagree with your actions and words. Election season and now with the Inauguration this past week, I have never restrained more in my thoughts and opinions than I am now. Thank you, Grace. I have learned that my silence has allowed me to reflect and more importantly respect our differences.
- Grace to oneself. The hardest of them all. We forgive others, yet we carry incredible guilt around like bricks weighing us down. I know I am the worse at this. I feel guilty for not doing enough on my time off. I regret when I relax too much and tell myself that I “wasted’ the day. I worry about how I am imprinting and impacting Lo. I worry if am I a good enough daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, wife and mother. I am anxious and tired all because of the thoughts in my head. I say things to myself I would be embarrassed to tell another. I am hateful and mean to me and that is not right and not fair. To love and respect others, we must love and respect ourselves. We cannot truly live a life of grace, if we don’t give grace to ourselves. So, I am trying. I am really trying.
Day 22. Whew! I am holding on steady to Day 365. I may have a bad day, I may lose my words in the process but having intentions instead of resolutions ultimately gives me what I need, simplicity through the process and the grace to forgive myself if I waiver.