I’m not a big “New Year’s Resolutions” girl, mostly because I refuse to set myself up for discouragement, disappointment, and disaster. In an effort to avoid full-on failure and embarrassment, I’ve comprised, in no particular order, nine reasonable aspirations that I’d like to attempt in the new year. So, without further ado, in 2016, I aspire to:
- Mail our family’s Christmas letters before the end of the Christmas season. I’ve got six more days until the Baptism of the Lord, folks. I know I can do it! Speaking of correspondence, I would really like to write more cards, notes, and letters than email, texts, and private messages this year. While it might not be a practical notion, I have a feeling sending snail mail to friends and family will be infinitely more fulfilling.
- Keep doing the things that work. If it ain’t broke, for the love of God, may I not inadvertently complicate things to the point where I – or someone else – must fix them. In our household, we’ve got systems down for (among other things): getting ready for school the night before, family prayer, meal-planning, grocery shopping, kids’ chores (mostly), regular reception of the Sacraments, and I’m getting closer to nailing down a regular routine for laundry. These are all good things. Let me, please, Blessed Mother, keep them that way.
- Try to stop doing the things that don’t work. I consume too much sugar and not enough fruit and vegetables. I don’t get enough exercise. I don’t schedule enough time to recreate and rejuvenate. I have too much clutter in my office area and my bedroom and my kitchen counters and my garage. I spend too much time in the minivan. I don’t get to Adoration nearly as often as I need. These things are not, not, not working for me. Through the grace of God and the intercession of all the angels and saints and blesseds, I will try to do something about them in 2016.
- Sing, dance, and count my blessings more than I yell, idle, and complain. In other words, I aspire to cultivate joy and gratitude in my thoughts, words, and actions while leaving any angry, out-of-control, or negative feelings and behaviors behind.
- Soak up complete and utter silence for at least 15 gloriously peace-filled minutes each day. I would love to aspire to 60, or even 20, but that’s not a reasonable expectation at this season in our family’s life. So, 15 anointed minutes it is. And if I get more, hallelujah for me and my kin!
- Have as much mercy upon myself as I have on others. I went to Confession three times before Christmas Day this year; don’t worry – this doesn’t mean I’m holier than you – actually, it’s likely quite the opposite. Anyway, as my penance, one priest told me that I was to work on being more merciful with myself. I am still trying to determine exactly what that means in practical terms, but since Pope Francis has us celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I plan on giving it a go. Perhaps creating this list of reasonable aspirations versus unattainable resolutions is step number one?
- Spend more one-on-one time with each of my kids and my spouse. We got better at doing this last year, but I think we need a more formalized plan. I aspire to work with my husband to make this happen; we would appreciate your prayers!
- Read and write and hang out with people more just for fun. As a recovering Type A / perfectionist, I struggle with doing stuff just for kicks, especially when my to-do list is constantly birthing more lists. And yet, as fulfilling as crossing items off my list du jour can be, there’s nothing like devouring a deliciously written book, pouring myself out onto a blank page without a looming deadline, and spending time with friendly faces just because it’s enjoyable. Let’s have a little more fun in 2016, shall we?
- Not go more crazy this year than I did in 2015. In fact, if we could keep the “crazy” to a dull roar in 2016, I would be able to count it as a success. Achieving this, I think, will have something to do with praying first, committing less, and loving more. We shall see. Ready or not, 2016 – I’m comin’ for ya.
How about you? What are the things you’re aspiring to in the new year? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
Copyright 2016 Heather Renshaw.