New Beginnings and Fresh Starts!

HAPPY 2019!  I love each New Year!  Being the self-improvement junkie that I am, the New Year holds endless possibilities for me to continue to work on being my best self.  I know some people get depressed with the New Year because its just setting themselves up for failure by not following through on their resolutions.  But I don’t see it that way!  Actually, I see each day as a new beginning and a fresh start!!  I have always loved goal setting.  I’m sure you‘ve heard the saying, if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.  Ladies, you know by now that being a mom and especially a stay-at-home mom, you have to be self-motivated!!!  Not that every day is super productive, because some days, getting the baby nursed and changed and washing a load of laundry may be what gets checked off the to-do list!  Been there many times. 

Believe me, I get it.  Goals can be very small.  Brush your teeth!! How’s that for a small goal.  Actually, while we’re talking about small goals, I do want you to put one thing on your daily To Do list.  I read once that one habit of highly successful people is to make your bed every day!!!  I’m not joking, and I want you to make a resolution this year to Make Your Bed every day!!  I have made my bed every day for 44 years (since I graduated high school).  That’s the first thing I do in the morning.  It just starts your day off right!  Plus, it helps you accomplish the first thing on your to do list!!  According to Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit” daily bed making becomes a keystone habit, something that kickstarts a chain of other good decisions throughout the day.

It also gives you a sense of taking charge.  As Mama’s there are so many things we DON’T have control over, so to have some things in our day we do have control over, gives a sense of accomplishment.  It gives a more peaceful and orderly appearance to your bedroom as well.  I remember the year I took the ironing board from my bedroom!! It always stood in the corner or under the bed.  Being married to a Pastor, he always had a shirt and pants to iron at least once a week!  I decided that my bedroom was a place for romance, not an ironing station!  You may think these things aren’t important, but believe me when I tell you it’s the little things in life that make a difference over time.  So, no excuses, make your bed every morning!  You’ll be surprised how you’ll be ready to face the next task with vigor!

January is one of my favorite times of the year in western Pa.  The reason is that the holidays are over, decorations put away, and the house looks huge, lol, simple, and tidy.  It is a time for clear thinking, meditation, and peacefully staring at snow falls out my window.  The peace and calm of January has always brought me a joyful anticipation at what may be ahead in the new year.  Looking back at some years can be painful, very painful.  So there have been times in January when I thought “good riddance to last year”.  Some years I NEVER want to repeat.  Some years brought sorrows, health issues, setbacks, job loss, etc.  So once again the new year brings hope and anticipation that this year will be different.  What are some simple things to consider as we anticipate a new year:

  1. Revisit your priorities.  This is always good to do, its amazing how priorities can get out of whack.  I remember when my work in real estate seemed to be creeping into areas I didn’t want it to, namely time away from my son.   I decided to set a goal that as much as providentially possible, I would try to be at home when Steve got home from school.  (Now that he is a senior, that is really important). Did that last sentence surprise you?  I have found that teenagers need their parents almost as much as littles do, just in different ways.  So with Steve, if I couldn’t be there, I would call or text to touch base with him.  When we set a goal, it helps us order our day to put our priorities in their proper place. Perhaps for you, a goal would be to take a nap during the day, so you can be awake to talk and spend time with your husband in the evening after kids go to bed.  Once again, small things make a difference.

  2. Set reachable goals.  Super important.  I am not one to set myself up for failure.  I want to be successful because success feeds on itself. So each January, I take the important areas of my life: 

God, Family, Wellness, Growth, and Service to Others.  I work on a couple simple goals for each area.  Write them down.  Make them achievable.  If I have never exercised before and I say I want to run a marathon, I’m probably setting myself up for a big failure (unless of course I am truly determined to do that in any given year).  I love looking at the areas of my life that are important to me, and set some direction for each of them.  Perhaps you don’t need to change them, perhaps just continuing on in what you are doing is where you’re at. That’s great! 

The other thing we must keep in mind is that different seasons of life will allow for more or less flexibility.  I remember once when we had 9 children at home, homeschooling, living on a farm with chores, etc.  someone told me I should get a hobby.  I remember thinking to myself, when am I going to fit in time for a hobby?  I’m lucky I can fit in time for a shower let alone a hobby!!!   But now, on the verge of having an empty nest, life looks very different.  I am at a stage of life where I have time for a hobby.  But for most of my life while mothering my large family, my hobbies centered around learning new things so that I could be the best Mom I could be.  If those were considered hobbies,  then ok I had some, but for years my home was my focus.  Period. 

That took all my energies and it was the joy of my life to commit everything to that.  This may not be very politically correct, and I am not judging anyone who makes different choices, but for me that was it.  My aim was high, my bar was set high.  And I must say, looking back I have no regrets that I gave my best years to all things Hearth and Home.  I looked at it this way, I am one person, but if I can raise 11 people, who will love God and others, and send them out as world changers, then I’m exponentially replacing myself!  That was a huge return on investment.  There are some things money can’t buy such as time.  Children don’t stop growing while we’re distracted or not present.

I remember my son when he was in elementary school told me one day that I’m not a working mom.  I was perplexed at this because I had been a real estate agent for a few years.  It showed that I must have been balancing things in a way that he wasn’t feeling deprived of his Mama and I was thankful for that.  The time with our children is short.  I know when you’re in the throes of it , and you feel like a milk making machine, you’re sleep deprived, and all your clothes are stained with baby vomit,  you may find yourself wishing they were older so life wouldn’t be so taxing and demanding. 

But in the overall picture dear friend, you will blink and your home is empty. They are in college, working,  married, and off doing amazing things in the world. So as we enter this new year of 2019, consider your goals for the year, pray, seek, ask, and joyfully anticipate this fresh new beginning to serve God and our families with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Then we’ll have no regrets, we can smile at the future, knowing we have done all that we can.  God bless you in your journey.  I would love for you to share with me what are some of your goals for this New Year.