There has been a lot of talk lately about goals, resolutions, and starting off the year on the right foot. While I did not make a detailed lists of goals, I do, like most of you, have a few things that I am hoping to accomplish in the next 12 months.
For starters, Jordan will be tuning 18 this year, and I still have a list of things that I need to teach him before he goes out on his own. (Heaven help us both.) I need to focus like never before on teaching my kids because my time with them all at home is quickly slipping away. Now is not the time to be sad about that, but I do need to get to work. Not only that, but I need to make sure that I make time to savor all of the small and magical moments that come ever so quietly before speedily slipping away.
If I am going to be able to accomplish that, or anything else that is on my mental list of hopes for the year, I need to clear my plate of other things that tend to take my attention and energy away from what matters most. With that in mind, here are five things that I am NOT going to do in 2016:
1. I will not spend precious energy worrying about things that I cannot control.
Sometimes I allow the “what ifs” to dominate my thoughts, and I am going to work hard to break that cycle. (What if I get cancer? What if something happens to my husband, leaving me to raise five children on my own? What if Jordan gets in a car accident with his newly acquired driver’s license? What if my kids make bad choices that lead them into the chains of addiction? What if…) Worry is not helpful. It prevents me from focusing on the beauty of my present situation by keeping my attention fixed on the possibility of negativity and pain that may never materialize. I can do my part to take care of myself, teach my children, and prepare for the future, but I cannot control everything. Some things I must leave in God’s hands, trusting that He knows what is best, and facing the future as it unfolds, regardless of what it brings.
2. I will not start my day by reading email or checking social media.
For the past several years, I have used my phone as an alarm clock. As a result, many days I find myself checking email or social media immediately after I turn off my alarm, often before I even get out of bed.
Lately, however, I have realized that starting my day by jumping head first into distraction may not be the best idea. I do not want to be immediately focused on what is going on in other people’s lives as soon as my eyes are open, or start my day by thinking about the overwhelming number of emails that need my attention. Rather, I want to spend the first few precious moments of the day, when my mind is fresh and uncluttered, praying, reading scriptures, and bringing my awareness back to the things that really matter. I want to be grounded and focused before I start running, and it is difficult to do that when I am distracted by a screen.
To make this happen, I purchased an alarm clock. I feel so old-fashioned, but it is a cool one that even projects the time onto the ceiling or wall. (Where has this been all my life?)
My phone will no longer charge near my bed, and I will not pick it up until I have finished the tasks that I previously mentioned. My hope is that starting each day in a deliberate way will set me up for a more productive and meaningful year.
3. I will not stress about eating food that is local, organic or non-GMO.
While I do believe that those options are better, chasing them could easily take center stage in my life – a place that I want to reserve for other things. I will try to eat fresh, whole, minimally processed, home-cooked food most of the time, without stressing about where it came from or how it was grown. That, in my opinion, is a thousand times better than indulging in processed food with an organic label.
4. I will not dwell on the past.
As much as I hate to admit it, there are a couple of past hurts that still eat away at me from time to time. I find myself thinking about them much too often, trying to figure out why such hurtful things were said and done to me. The truth is, however, that rehashing old conversations in my mind does not change them. It does not make me feel any better or offer any further explanation about why things happened the way that they did. All it does is repeatedly make me upset, and I am tired of it.
If I am going to make any progress on living a meaningful life, the past needs to stay in the past. I can no longer allow it to poison my thoughts.
5. I will not allow fear to keep me from sharing the message that is in my heart.
Starting a blog was one of the scariest things I have ever done because of the amount of vulnerability it required. Being an introvert, I am more comfortable observing, and tend to keep my opinion to myself unless I am with a small group of individuals whom I trust. Putting my thoughts out there in the vast realm of cyberspace for the whole world to see is terrifying because there is always the potential for people to attack me for the things that I believe and hold dear.
However, the bottom line is that there is a message in my heart that I feel compelled to express, regardless of whether or not people agree with me. I am no longer going to allow fear to keep me from sharing it in its entirety.
What is on your not-to-do list?