I am a list girl. Even at age 3, when Alexa would imitate me, she would do so by sitting at my desk pretending to make a list and check off the line items, one by one. And part of me is dying to jot down a quick list of hopes and goals for 2018- because really, there are so many things I want to accomplish, habits I want to change, new experiences I want to try...
But I think I have finally figured something out- and that is this: when it comes to the big things, the things that take time and commitment and focus, my one-liner lists just don't cut it. They are so easy to write- bullet points that take mere seconds to flow from my brain to the page- that it kinda tricks me into thinking they should be just as easy to accomplish. So, in true Jenn Falik form, I write down like 100 things...end up overwhelmed...and become paralyzed at where the F to begin. So I shove the list in a drawer somewhere, never to be seen again, because there is just so much else to think about in the short term. For example, at this moment, what am I making for dinner tonight/does my husband need any of the stuff in his suitcase from our trip to Florida for his upcoming business travel and if so, do I need to deal with unpacking it all now or can it wait one more day/when is the deadline to order Alexa's birthday cake and did I do the package at the party place that includes pizza or do I need to arrange food on my own/and so on and so forth.
In lieu of a long list of tasks that parade around the page looking as though they should be easily checked off, I am outlining parts of my life that I think need some extra attention this year- and why. Writing those words down, with complete and total honesty, should be motivation enough to enact change- no checkmark boxes needed.
Last year, Brian and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary. And the older we get, the busier we get- between kids and work and social obligations and all the grown up stuff that comes along for the ride. Often, we are like ships in the night, and when we do have an hour or so to sit down together and chat (without the girls running around), Brian is exhausted from work, and I am high strung and anxious about running through the lists I have been making in my head all week long while we have the time. So the energy is off- and not only does nothing get accomplished, but quite the opposite happens- we end up annoyed at each other. My typical reaction at that point is to huff and puff and declare something along the lines of "fine, forget it- I'll figure it out myself" even though it is something I either can't figure out myself or it is something I shouldn't figure out myself because we need to be a team and many important decisions are best made together. There has to be a better approach- and I am determined to figure out what it is. Communication is so important- and it is so easy to de-prioritize it as a couple when there are so many other things to keep afloat- but continuing to let it fall by the wayside can be toxic, and that is not a place I want to find myself a year from now.
There are 2 parts to the whole parenting thing that I know I need to work on in '18- the first stems from the above- figuring out how to parent as a team. It is more efficient, yes- and also will cut down on a lot of the anxiety- and in many cases, manipulation- caused by uncertainty in rules and routines that I notice in my girls. The second part is all about me- learning how to lengthen my short fuse, be the grown up, and take ownership in a big way of guiding Alexa & Goldie through childhood. I want to be more "fearless and engaged leader", less "frustrated and nervous nagger". We have a ton of fun together- especially when I allow myself to really be present in the moment, and not worry about the long term repercussions of letting Alexa "forget" her glasses at home one day, or allowing Goldie to have her pacifier in the house when she cries for it even though technically it is reserved for car trips or bedtime. There has to be a happy medium between helping them grow up to be kind and healthy and smart and letting them be kids while they can be. Just gotta figure out what that looks like for me.
Instead of having a "work" category and a "health" category, I am bundling them together into a more overall lifestyle goal- being consistent. Consistency, and creating thoughtful, purposeful habits, is where the magic will happen for me in both my professional life and, let's be honest here, in what I see in the mirror (and, yes how I feel in the morning when I crawl out of bed and throughout the marathon days of mom life.) Writing is what I love to do - and sharing my life, my style finds, beauty tricks, and all that good stuff really does make me insanely happy. Carving out the time to do it regularly is what will help me build it into the thing I want it to become- even though on any given day I don't know exactly what that will look like (a book? an expanded blog? a video series?), I know that by keeping at it, something big will happen, and it will shape itself into exactly what it is meant to be. That is the interesting nature of the social media/blogging world- I liken it to throwing a ton of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks- you just have to keep throwing and throwing and eventually when you look at the wall of sticky spaghetti, there is gonna be a pattern and that pattern will inform you of the best way to proceed. Does that make sense? I hope so.
From a health angle- consistency for me is gonna mean eating cleaner, snacking less, and overall being more purposeful and thoughtful about planning healthy meals not only for myself but for my family. If I want take the stress out of getting dinner on the table every night, I just have to plan ahead- this I know. And this I do- like, once a month. But should be doing weekly. Practice makes perfect. On the exercise front, I think that becoming more goal-oriented with my fitness, and forcing myself to be accountable for said goal, will help take my status-quo consistency up a notch. Instead of consistency simply meaning the act of working out 4 times a week (or whatever it may be), I want to evolve my definition of fitness consistency to be more about pushing myself harder on a consistent basis, learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable-wheezing-for-air-heart-beating-out-of-my-chest moments that are necessary to become the strongest and most healthy version of myself.
So yeah, those are the general areas of my life that I hope to improve this year. At first glance, a short list- but each item above is much more than a one-line bullet point, and I feel proud to be at a place where I can acknowledge the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to the whole New Year's Resolution frenzy.
What do you guys think of New Year's Resolutions? Do you make them? Have the way in which you qualified/quantified them changed as you have gotten older? Please share!