I have never been good at making and keeping New Year resolutions. However, I do enjoy spending some time reflecting on the previous year, and almost always feel the need to make resolutions- most of which are unrealistic or unattainable for some reason. Therefore, I set myself (and by extension my family) up for failure before the New Year ever starts. So for 2018, I decided I needed to do something different. I read this fantastic article about ditching traditional task orientated resolutions and instead choosing a power word/phrase. Roy Cohen, a career coach and author, explains the difference in the article, “Resolutions feel like an enormous burden and are a guilty reminder when we occasionally fall off the wagon. When they are grand gestures, they are likely to be a challenge to keep. On the other hand, a single word evokes a state of mind. It is the equivalent of a mantra with the intention of focusing on key themes that motivate us.”
After some reflection, I decided that it would be best to look at individual sections of my life and pick multiple power words. So, with that in mind, I decided to pick power words for the following: Homeschooling, Family Life, Marriage, Homemaking, Writing, and Spirituality.
HOMESCHOOLING: I currently homeschool my three oldest children, and we are in our 5th year of homeschooling. You would think that at this point I would have schooling down to a science. However, the truth is homeschooling is an ever-evolving thing. This past fall, I had grand visions of an organized planned out classical education. I love the ideas behind a classical education, and in the past, we have tried it. Foolishly, I decided to try it again…forgetting that while I love the idea of a classical education, my children don’t like the idea or fit it well. My kids do much better with a hands-on unschooling approach. So, as the new year starts, we are returning to what I know works for us. Formal schooling in reading and math only and unschooling everything else. So the power word for homeschooling in 2018 is going to be APPRECIATE. I am going to focus on appreciating who my kids are. I am going to stick with the approach that works for us. I am not going to try and force my kids to conform to educational principals that don’t work for them. I am going to appreciate that they are individuals and let them learn how they learn. I believe by focusing on the word APPRECIATE that our homeschooling in 2018 will be more successful and enjoyable for everyone.
FAMILY LIFE: As a stay at home mom and wife, my family is my top priority. I love being a stay at home, mom/wife. Nothing makes me happier than spending quality time with my family. However, let’s be honest, family life isn’t always roses and sunshine. Sometimes, it is downright awful- kids misbehave, spouses have bad days, etcetera. It can be easy to get caught up in the stresses of life, to lose your focus and feel stagnate as a family- to forget to find the joy in the mundane. This is why our family is going to have two power word for 2018 that go together- SEEK ENJOYMENT. As a family, I want us to find joy in all parts of our family life. I want us to enjoy spending time with each other whether we are doing something exciting like going to the Lego Discovery Center in Atlanta, GA or having a simple movie night at home. I want us to have a vibrant and active family life. I want my kids to look back on their childhoods and smile from memories.
MARRIAGE: In December, Mark and I attended my childhood best friend’s wedding. It was three nights and four days of just us because the wedding was kid free. My aunt kept the boys for us. It is the first real trip, Mark and I have ever taken without our children. Mark and I had a fantastic time together and got to reconnect together as a couple. I want to capitalize on the reconnecting we did on the trip. So, with that in mind, the power word I have chosen is RECONNECT. We will focus on reconnecting as a couple- making it a priority to spend quality times together and doing little things for each other. I am also wanting to make date nights out a thing that happens regularly, now that my kids are finally old enough that I feel comfortable leaving them with a babysitter, something I have struggled with in the past. My aunt has also offered to take the kids again this summer so that Mark and I can make another trip just the two of us.
HOMEMAKING: My power word for this section of my life is DELEGATE. I am not good at delegating. I tend to do everything on my own. For years that was okay, but now with my medical issues, I no longer have the physical stamina to take care/keep the house all on my own. I know that I am doing my boys (or my future daughter-in-laws!) any favors by not making sure they know how to do necessary household chores. With all of that in mind, I am working on delegating household chores and expecting them to help out around the house. I am also giving each of the boys their own chores. Over the past month, as a family, we have worked on deep cleaning individual rooms of the house. Now that these rooms are clean, the goal is to keep them maintained by tidying daily so that the house is always tidy and not continually falling into messy chaos. My biggest hope with delegating and involving everyone in the housework is that when I am knocked out of commission by pain flares that the house won’t fall apart without me.
WRITING: DILIGENT is my power word choice. Now that I have finished my degree, I have time to devote to my writing. I am currently working on a novel. My goal is to have the first draft completed by the end of August. To meet this goal, I have to be diligent and write daily. I have to power through writer blocks and make writing a priority.
SPIRITUALITY: 2017 was a hard year spirituality-wise. I ended up having a crisis of faith due to my medical issues. While I did not doubt God’s existence, I struggled to find the point to believe in him- to pray and attend Mass. I questioned his love for me because of the crosses I have been given in the form of chronic pain. I felt that God was punishing me for the sins of my parents. It seemed pointless and hopeless to have a spiritual life. That crisis of faith touched my whole family, and we stopped praying together very often and by the end of the year, we were rarely attending Mass. I don’t want that for my family. I want to have an abundant spiritual life- both as an individual, as part of a couple, and as part of a family. With that in mind, I picked two power words for the category of spirituality, and they are FIND and EMBRACE. I want to find my faith again and embrace it. I want to bring spirituality and faith back into my marriage and our family life.
As January comes to an end, I am happy to say that 2018 is off to a good start. Power words are working much better than task orientated goals. I am looking forward to how the words APPRECIATE, SEEK ENJOYMENT, RECONNECT, DELEGATE, DILIGENT, FIND, and EMBRACE are going to enhance my life and the lives of my family this year. Did you make any New Year resolutions or did you pick a word as I did? What did you choose to do and how is the first month going for you and yours?