Call me an idealist, but I love the beginning of a new year. It feels as though the slate is wiped clean in a way, and anything is possible. I know that most resolutions fail within the first few weeks, but I still think the optimism that accompanies those resolutions is encouraging.
This year my resolution is simple: Be kinder to myself and others.
I know it's crazy, but I'm not very nice to myself much of the time. My husband (among others) often tells me that I'm too hard on myself, that I'm unforgiving of my own shortcomings, and that I put too much stress on myself. I feel like I can and should be able to do it all, and I don't make any exceptions for life's unexpected circumstances.
Sick kid? Relative passed away? Three events in one weekend?
So? I think. That's no excuse for not keeping my regular schedule. I get up early, stay up late, blog with a baby on my lap. Which is okay sometimes, but not when I get so upset with myself for not being able to carry on as normal that I feel like a complete failure.
Again, crazy. I know. I KNOW it rationally, but that doesn't mean that I'm any easier on myself.
Same thing goes for every aspect of my life. My house isn't clean enough. My wardrobe sucks. My weight is too high, my fitness too low.
I complain when I don't reach every goal I set, although I set goals that would require full-time dedication to accomplish. Except I'm at home with a 16 month old and have a 4 year old who's sick more than he's well. I don't have 40 hours a week to dedicate to work. But I make that time anyway. Even when I shouldn't.
I run two blogs, manage 2 more, and contribute regularly to another. I freelance to contribute my portion of the household income. I love all of it, but they all take time, like all things worth doing. I write fiction in my spare time. I was hugely disappointed that I didn't finish my NaNoWriMo novel in November, although I did manage to write over 20 000 words. In my mind, it still wasn't good enough.
So in 2014, the goal is to let go of it. Not the goals; I still have goals I want to achieve and that I'll work hard to reach, but I won't be so hard on myself along the way. Setbacks happen. That negative self-talk in my mind does nothing to help me on my journey. It's time to become my own best friend, and not feel as though I'm being selfish for doing it. When did taking care of my own needs become a luxury?
In 2014 I'm going to work on being nicer to me.
Take some time for myself. Go out and grab a coffee. Make more time for friends and family. Accept that sometimes good enough will have to do, and not fret about it for days. Be okay with saying no to people who think that I have all the time in the world on my hands to do things for them since I don't leave my house to work. Realize that disappointing someone else is not the end of the world, especially if it's done to guard my own sanity.
Saying no. Frequently. Both to myself and to others.
Being kind to myself means treating myself well.
Eating healthier and moving more because those things make me feel good.
Getting more than 5 hours of sleep at night.
Writing for the fun of it.
Reaching for my goals, but knowing when enough is enough.
Did I mention saying NO? It's worth repeating.
Saying YES when I really want to, even if that means something else won't get done.
If I can do these things, my life won't be perfect, but I will appreciate it more. I'll appreciate me more. I'm strong, I'm a good mom, a loyal wife, a loving daughter/sister/Aunt/cousin, etc. I used to be a better friend, when I didn't feel like even making social plans was cutting into my working time.
It's easier to be kind to others when you're kind to yourself. I want to spend more quality time with my kids. Make better friends with the neighbours. Be a better friend to my friends. Actually volunteer at something that makes me happy, even if it's just for a weekend to start. Have more fun with my husband. Hang out more with my sister. Take my parents out.
I don't know who said this first, but it's true: Don't confuse your blessings for burdens.
Life is hard sometimes. It's busy. Things don't always go as planned. That doesn't mean it's not great.
I have an amazing husband, wonderful kids, excellent neighbours, wonderful family and friends, and work that I love. There is a lot of joy in my life.
In 2014 I'm focusing on all that I have to contribute, rather than all the ways I'm not perfect.
I hope you do too.
Happy New Year!
**This post also appears on Celiac Baby!