I have never been good at keeping my resolutions. Like most people I start January 1st, OK let’s be honest January 2nd, because January 1st is still considered the holiday season. Yeah, that’s right, I am bad at resolutions I even procrastinate starting them. Each year I do look back at the year and how it has been and what I would like to accomplish in the coming year I usually get a huge urge to clean out the clutter from my house but it is short lived once I get to that stage where I look around and think, “Crud, when did we get all this stuff?”
Well, this year I am going a different route. For the last several years my friends have taken one word and focused on that one word in all aspects of their lives. I am going to do that this year. I thought about it for a few weeks trying to figure out what one word would help me throughout the year. What word could embody all the things I wanted to improve upon this year?
The word I choose this year is mindfulness. I really like the idea of thinking through actions and trying to be in the moment. When I read the definition on line it sealed the deal. Mindfulness is my word for 2017.
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
I like both definitions but I was really drawn to number two. Focusing on the present moment is something I struggle with. I am constantly going over what needs to be done in the future and making to-do lists in my head, and it makes it very difficult for me to enjoy the present.
After picking my word I wanted to figure out how I could incorporate it into all aspects of my life so I broke it down into the following categories:
Mr. Train and I have what I would consider a pretty solid relationship. We have been married for 10 years now. We often joke about not being able to leave each other because there is no way either of us wants to do this parenting thing alone, but in reality, we are quite happy and still enjoy each other’s company. It’s not just because we are afraid of our kids. So where can mindfulness come into play then? To be honest there is always room to be more thoughtful about other people. I think because we are so comfortable and our relationship is good it is easy to take that for granted. This year I want to make sure we take the time for each other when we need it.
I don’t want to set a number of date nights or anything like that. If I put this magical number that I am supposed to live up to, I know it will just be another resolution I don’t maintain. I just want to be more cognizant of how much time we are dedicating to our relationship when we start to feel that pull like we haven’t been giving each other enough time and attention to take care of that. Even if it is just sitting on the couch together watching TV, that helps us maintain a feeling of closeness.
Oh man, mindfulness and parenting will not be easy for me. When there are four children all placing their demands on me in the not so nicest of ways I tend to lose my marbles and explode. When I walk in the door from work and they are throwing huge tantrums with my parents about homework I go bananas. As I was searching for things to help me focus on mindfulness I found this quote.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
This is going to be my mantra for mindfulness and parenting this year. I so quickly let anger be my reaction and I need to reign it in. I often have those very ironic moments where I am screaming at my children to stop screaming. Yeah…. I get it. They are watching me and learning from me. I want to teach them better ways to be angry and frustrated so I have to start with me. I want to me mindful of the way I am interacting with my kids.
I also want to just enjoy them more. During our Christmas break, we traveled to Arizona to visit with Mr. Train’s Grandparents. On our way home I had the crazy idea to just stop at the Grand Canyon for a day. It was fantastic. Just us and the kids walking around in one of the most amazing places on earth. I want more of these moments I want times when we are away from our hustle and bustle schedule and time to just be with each other and enjoy.
Practically everyone I know worries about weight and health. Well, this year for the first time in forever (did anyone hear the Frozen song when they read that), I’m not joining Weight Watchers or starting a new diet. In June I made a big decision to have weight loss surgery and it is going fantastic. But I am on a strict nutrition plan that is designed to keep my body healthy while quickly losing weight. I have gotten a little lax since November with holiday food consumptions around every corner. Seriously, there are cookies and fudge everywhere. In regards to eating and nutrition, I am going to be mindful of what I am putting in my body. I know that the better the food I eat the better I feel. I know that when I don’t get enough water throughout the day that my body feels off. I want to spend time this year listening to my body’s needs and taking care of it. I am going to do my best to stick to my nutrition plan given to me by my doctor, but I am also not going to beat myself up for the occasional misstep.
I am a teacher. As almost all teachers I know, I get behind in grading and planning and just about everything else It is always a catch-up game. I wish I was the type of person who was super organized and neat but alas I am not. I love my kids and I love my job but behind the scenes, I am a bit of an absent-minded professor. I am not making goals to change that part of me. Why fight against nature? Absent-minded professor is here to stay. Only this year I want to pay more attention to how work is making me feel. When I start to have anxiety because I haven’t planned far enough ahead, I need to take care of it before it takes over me and I become grouchy (which happens more than I would like to admit).
This is the hardest category for me. Not just because I am a busy parent — we all are right? This was hard for me before becoming a parent. I am a people pleaser and I have a lot of trouble saying no. I want to do everything for everyone and it causes me heartache when I can’t. Well this year I am really going to try to focus on myself as well. There are things I enjoy doing that I rarely take the time to do. I love reading and writing and crafting. In the evenings I often collapse into bed after taking care of everyone else’s needs and I need to change that. I need to take the time I need to relax and enjoy myself. Creating things whether it’s writing or crafting brings me peace. Getting out into nature and being away from the city soothes my heart. I need to do these things more. I need to pay attention to my heart and listen to my needs.
. . . . .
So this year I will be mindful in all aspects of my life. I want to enjoy each the time that I am in and find peace in the moment. I want to really think through my actions and interactions with my kids. I want to think about myself and the things that will fill up my cup in addition to taking care of everyone else. This year, instead of having my mind racing and full of all the things that stress me out, I want to focus on the good and positive things. I want to be mindfull.