We can reflect and reset every day, or every minute of our lives. Yet, sometimes it takes the “new year” excitement (or b.s.) to really dig deep and see what lessons we’ve learned and what we want to do with them. For me, I think I ignored many of the lessons in this past year until December 31, 2018. 2018 wasn’t a great year for me. I didn’t suffer personal tragedy or loss. I didn’t lose my job or see my family fall apart. But it was a year filled with what I call “spiraling”. Not a single thing seemed grounded or settled. My marriage was tested, my kids really struggled through changes, we moved 3 times in 8 weeks, I let a personal court battle dig into my psyche to the core and my job was consistently chaotic and overwhelming. I’ve definitely dealt with worse circumstances in all fronts, but taken all together, I really spiraled. Spiraling to me didn’t involve waking up in a hospital bed, it involved seeing myself lose sight of what my true values are. As Brené Brown reminds us, don’t lose sight of what brings you “joy and meaning.”
I spent 2018 anxious. I spent the year reactive. And by reactive, I mean unsettled and responding from emotion, not from the place where I really like functioning from.
I had moments where I’d scan through “work-life balance” articles on LinkedIn and would roll my eyes and ask myself if those authors even understood what mothers go through who work 10+ hour days with 2+ hour round-trip commutes and kids who play sports year-round.
So, I am making some resolutions for 2019, not in the typical fashion, but in the refocusing on what I already know that I have in me. Here’s my list of resolutions labeled as “What I Won’t Do”:
- I won’t allow the spiral to hang onto me. I won’t get caught up in the emotional reaction to life in general.
- I won’t have my first cup of coffee be in the car, on my way to work in the dark. I will have my coffee, in my favorite mug on my couch. Preferably, watching the view of the sun coming up through my picturesque living room window.
- I won’t miss the things that are important to my kids. I won’t miss family game night. While I may miss many practices, I won’t miss the games and meets. I won’t miss the parent-teacher conferences, school performances or tough doctor/dentist visits that they are anxious about.
- I won’t let overwhelm make me freeze. I won’t let the 178 open items on my work “to-do” list, the 427 unread emails in Outlook and the many, many home projects (with $$ attached) cause me to shut down rather than prioritize.
- I won’t feel unproductive when I’ve only crossed one or two items of my standing to-do list at the end of the day, especially when I’ve prevented 10 other projects from landing on my list.
- I won’t get caught up in drama, bitching and moaning because I need to unload every second of every day.
- I won’t turn down invites from friends because I’m working or because I have convinced myself I’m too tired to be social. But I won’t accept invites out of guilt either.
- I won’t forget to pause, breathe, process and seek calm before reaction.
- I won’t let any of this affect my health, my sleep, my time for some exercise and eating, and my mental health.
- I won’t take for granted the fact that I have amazing help and support, including a spouse who makes everything I do possible.
- I won’t allow my time with co-workers over drinks to be completely consumed with negative venting (well, some is allowed). But I will make sure we’re connecting over the good stuff as much as possible.
- I won’t refuse to ask for help.
- I won’t refuse to set clear boundaries and hold them. This is big for me. I don’t like disappointing people, but there’s pretty big cost to that.
And most importantly, I won’t lose sight of my core values: family, well-being, compassion, connection and integrity. These are the things that bring joy and meaning, not paychecks, promotions, winning or crossing off to-dos.
Well, there is one more thing:
I won’t be unforgiving or unkind to myself when I screw any of these things up.