Do I have a list of resolutions? You bet I do... Each year I try to fool myself into thinking I'm a little bit wiser. Last year I wrote down philosophies to live by; the year prior, I chose the mantra, "Live, Laugh, Love." This year...I'm back to listing resolutions again... The only difference is that this year, I will be following the S.M.A.R.T. method for goal setting--specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-limited. My vision board is rocking new pictures on it too.
1. Consume less sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables. (I recently learned that 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon or sugar; women are advised to have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. My current diet actually triples this recommended serving.) This year, I will be substituting more raw foods like nuts, fruits, and vegetables to replace the processed snacks that I bring with me to work everyday.
2. Drink 8 oz. of water daily. This is a challenge for me; I get so involved at work and home that I forget to drink anything--especially water. I might have to find an app on my cell phone to send me constant reminders throughout the day.
3. Take walks everyday during lunch and do exercise videos three times per week. This will be a weekly goal. If I miss a few days, I'll simply hit the restart button each Monday.
4. Learn how to "turn-off" work to be more available and present for my son. Each day, my goal is to arrive to work earlier, so I can be home earlier to help Lewie with homework and to spend quality time with him (such as walking, playing board games, building LEGO sets, etc.) Some days I'm required to come home late from work, but I will work around those days as much as possible.
5. Plan two date-nights (or more) with hubby monthly. The goal is to go out on a date every other weekend to make sure we continue to nurture our bond.
6. Visit one of our National Parks (national treasures) each year. This year, in June, the plan will be to visit the Grand Canyon; I want these trips to be both educational and memorable for Little Lewie.
7. Create a stronger savings portfolio for retirement. Like most people I know, I don't allocate enough of my salary to retirement or savings. I will create a budget this January and automate a process to have a portion of my money go directly into savings. By February, I "should" have a diversified portfolio...
8. Be a good person. This is one of those generic goals that don't have much meaning unless I create some tangible ways to measure it. Hmmm... I hope to celebrate friends and family more by remembering birthdays and sending them special notes throughout the year (especially during Random Acts of Kindness Week). I hope to create special surprises for my mom, Lew, and Little Lewie as a way to show how much I love and cherish them. And for people I don't know or know less, my goal is to be more empathetic, thoughtful, patient, and giving. I developed the mindset of seeing each person as a child, and you know what? It works. There is something cathartic in forgiving, sending blessings, and letting go.
9. Be grateful. Last year I've made it my practice to silently thank God for all my blessings whenever I have a chance (during my drive to work, in the shower, on a walk). I've recently taught Little Lewie this practice, too, and so each night at bedtime after our prayers, we say at least one thing we are grateful for--it could be something more common and fundamental like food, or it could be something very specific that happened that day. Sometimes his comments bring me to tears--"Today I'm thankful for spending time with my mom." Awww....
10. Smell the roses. Work is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is my gateway to financial freedom. It allows me to save up for trips and experiences; it allows me to do things like put a pool in our backyard. Still, at times I feel married to it. I worry about taking days off from work, not checking emails, and not giving my 100%. When I do this, my family comes second, and I come third. This year I'm taking more full days and half days off. I am limiting my email time at home, and I am delegating more responsibilities to others. We only have one life, and I intend on enjoying it--all of it. I want my son to learn how to enjoy it too. Yes, there is a time when work and homework are important, but there are other times when going for a walk, eating at Friendly's, and visiting friends is just as important. I will be "scheduling" down time in the beginning with the hope that by the end of the year, it won't have to be scheduled; fun will be something that comes fluidly and spontaneously...
As always, I wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017. Last year had it's challenges for sure, but in the end, our family came out more united for it. I learned that hope and faith aren't just words--they are a way of being. These are the life lessons I plan to take with me during this New Year. As for this year's resolutions, well, they're fun to make. We'll see if these habits of mind stick, or if they end up becoming resolutions again for next year... After all, life will always be a work in progress.