3 New Types of New Year’s Resolutions

Today is the second day of the new year but to me it feels like the first.

January 1st is always a travelling/unpacking/catching-up day because we make the trip back from my grandparents’. A large portion of the day is spent in the car and the rest is spent doing laundry, putting things away and lamenting the egregious amounts of food we ate the past two days.

This year, swollen ankles and an aching back made for an even lovelier New’s Year Day.

Complaints aside, I’m looking forward to jumping in to my resolution list. First off, I have to actually make the list. As I said before, I had a general idea of three things I wanted to focus on, now I need to narrow them down.

General Idea #1- Live more naturally and healthfully

I plan to do this by…

Making, almost exclusively, from-scratch meals

Eating the recommended 5 fruits and veggies per day

Cutting out chemicals and preservatives from food, household and beauty products

Making an exercise plan and sticking to it (more on that after the baby comes)

These will clearly be ongoing processes.

I can’t dump all my makeup and cleaners in one day and I haven’t been grocery shopping yet for from-scratch meals. This is more of a goal to reach by the end of the year rather than something to start today and stick with all year.

General Idea #2- Become more spiritually disciplined

I plan to do this by…

Having a morning devotion that includes straight up scripture reading

Having at least one set-aside prayer time every day

Listening to more worship music

Memorizing verses/passages of scripture

General Idea #3- Use time more wisely

I plan to do this by…

Starting the day with spiritual discipline routines

Making a cleaning schedule

Prepping, cooking and freezing more homemade meals

Planning out posts and editorial tasks

Doing Rosetta Stone lessons at least 3x a week

Finishing at least one book per month

Practicing guitar at least 3x a week (not including teaching time and worship team practice)

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So there are my New Year’s resolutions. Pretty traditional approach. But maybe the traditional approach isn’t for you.

If that’s the case, look at these 3 new types of resolution lists I’ve come up with that might help you make this your best year yet.

#1 Try It List

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*Approach: Bucket List type *For: those who want this year to be more adventurous/want to step outside their comfort zones *Qualities: less stringent, more specific

HOW: Make a list of things you’ve wanted to try but made excuses, things you’ve been scared to try,  and/or changes you’ve been too uncomfortable to make. FOCUS ON: overcoming fears, being more adventurous, gaining experiences

#2 Less/More List

*Approach: Do This, Not That type *For: those who want a simple way to start new habits and kick old ones *Qualities: less stringent, more general

HOW: Make a list, divided down the middle, of things you want to do more of and things you want to do less of, in a more general sense. FOCUS ON: making small changes that lead to bigger ones; an ongoing process rather than a set of rules

#3 Year in Review List

*Approach: Taking stock *For: those who need encouragement and want to improve this year more than last *Qualities: less stringent, more reflective

HOW:  Look back at what you accomplished in 2014. Maybe you still have or know the previous year’s resolutions. How did you do with those? What other things did you accomplish that weren’t necessarily a resolution?  FOCUS ON: the positive. This is not a time to beat yourself up about the resolutions you didn’t meet, but  a time to reflect on the good things that happened and the ways you improved. Use that as a springboard for what you hope to accomplish this year. If you’re feeling pretty negative by the end of this list, resolution lists probably aren’t for you. (Bonus sub-category) Try making lists at the end of every week or every day of what you accomplished. As you do this, you’ll want to accomplish more so that you’ll have more to list by the end of each week (or day). Then at the end of 2015, you’ll have a much more positive Year in Review list.

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Remember not to get discouraged when you slip up. It’s hard to form new habits! Research says it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit, and that’s if you’re practicing it every day. If it’s something like a weekly yoga class, it’ll take longer to get into the habit of exercising, so don’t give up.

Whichever way, make sure you’re focusing on things that will help you improve yourself and your experiences. It’s important to be able to look at ourselves honestly and acknowledge our shortcomings without being too critical. If you’re a believer like me, just remember that it’s how God sees us that’s most important. Try to look at yourself through His eyes, especially when you’re not happy with the results of your last WeightWatchers weigh-in.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’re entering the new year with a positive outlook and a renewed spirit.

Later this week we’ll talk more about ways to make the most of this new year, as well as have a fun tutorial and some recipes.

Love always,

Tara

P.S. If one of your goals is to become more spiritually disciplined, join me in memorizing a verse/passage every other week or so. Here’s a link to a list of 24 verses with pretty printables of each one to help you get started.

24 Bible Verses to Memorize and Study in 2015

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The Holiday Wall

Friends, I am afraid my promised gift wrap post will not make it in time to actually be useful. I do so appreciate all the likes, comments and visits from you this past week. I was feeling a little discouraged the end of last week and you people cheered me up.

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Have you hit the Holiday Wall yet?

We have only two days to go but some of us have been prepping since August and Christmas can be exhausting.

Christmas and the surrounding holidays can often be the very opposite of what they’re supposed to be. Instead of being merry and bright, it’s hectic and stressful. As much as I love Christmas, it isn’t usually hard for me to look past all that and see all the lovely things about it, but this season has about done me in. From unexpected bills (we have an insanely tall, mostly dead maple in our backyard pulling up at the roots and threatening to topple onto the house with the next windy day that has to go, and soon) to close family members in the ER (I kid you not, my brother and mother have collectively been in the ER three times in the last week and a half) this Christmas has been anything but jolly. Luke (my dear husband) hit the Holiday Wall almost as soon as Christmas music flooded the airwaves, but I held out. Then I had an emotional breakdown yesterday morning over a bad hair day and realized (along with being 7 1/2 months pregnant) that I was slamming into the Holiday Wall myself.

Thankfully (and I’m going to go on a bit of a spiritual rant now) we have a God who takes care of us when we aren’t doing a very good job of it ourselves.

Luke received unexpected Christmas bonuses from both of his jobs, I was able to pick up some extra work, and Luke’s parents have generously offered to help with the payment on the tree removal. My family is home and recuperating and Christmas is only two days away. I feel 50 lbs lighter.

I wonder sometimes though if we’d have this kind of attitude and continue to praise God if things didn’t work themselves out so nicely. It’s easy to look on the bright side and be thankful when God takes away our burdens. But if God has another plan, if He knows we need to carry a burden for a little longer, whatever the reason, isn’t He still that same loving God? He’s still doing what’s best for us, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

So today I wanted to take a turn at encouraging YOU. I know lots of people feel overwhelmed and stressed this time of year. Please know that even if your prayers are seeming to go unanswered that God’s timing is perfect and He works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28 ya’ll).

I haven’t done a post like this before and I hope it doesn’t scare you away. I know most people look at blogs like these for fun, pretty posts with lots of clickable things but this was weighing on me and I wanted to share it with you. And there are more fun, pretty, click-y things to come! Stay with me. And please let me know what you think and if there’s anything I can pray about for you.

I hope we all can remember that Christmas is more than buying absurd amounts of presents, waiting in line at Macy’s, and cooking an elaborate enough meal to possibly impress your mother-in-law. Take some time to pray today and tell God all the things that are burdening you. Even if they don’t untangle by the end of the prayer, you will feel better, I promise.

Stay tuned for more, reader, I have lots in store!

Love always,

-Tara

P.S. As a token of my appreciation, please follow this link to my Pin Boards, which have all sorts of fun, pretty, click-y things