Friday, January 15, 2016

Hello 2016 - Let's Do This!

I'm pretty sure I'm an extroverted introvert.  The kind that loves people and quiet, and parties and solitude.  It's only taken me fifty or so years to recognize all that is rather conflictive.  But finally, for the most part, I've learned to accept and appreciate both sides of the coin at the same time, no matter which side lands face up.

For the longest I couldn't understand why, if I loved my people, did I long so much for solitude?  Rather than coming to a great understanding and then knowing how to walk in it, understanding came in actually walking - or more accurately stumbling along - right through it.

There was a time when I believed my final words in this life would be, "Not so loud, please."  Because that was the season:  Loud.  And I couldn't articulate the need, but so often I longed to pause, to breathe, find perspective, gather strength and just be still.  There wasn't a lot of time for that in the loud season.  It came in snatched minutes of fleeting peace during naptime, and stolen moments of quiet on mornings when the sleeping late wasn't an annoyance but a blessing.  Now I look back on that desperate need for quiet and smile ... what wouldn't I give for those young ones to push the books out of my lap to rock away a sleepy head just one more time?

Having come through that season, I appreciate deeply how stepping away from life for just a moment to shuffle the edges straight is a gift.  Literal this time, delivered on Christmas morning with a date and a get away plan and gracious indulgence from LtDan.  We went to one of our favorite local-ish hotels and enjoyed a Friday night out on the town and a room service breakfast on Saturday morning, then LtDan headed home and I spent the rest of the weekend in quiet reverie with my books, thoughts, aspirations and goals.  I packed as if I were going to spend a month, not a weekend.  My book bag weighed ten pounds (really - I weighed it), and there were even more books tucked into my computer bag along with my laptop.  I took a scentsy burner, a wireless speaker, and extra coffee.  I moved furniture so I could sit and gaze out the window.  I had pizza delivered just for me.  I got a late checkout time.  It was beyond lovely.

The point of all this alone-ness was to spend some time thinking and planning for the New Year.  And now with all this talk about a wonderful weekend away to do just that, I'm thinking I better deliver on a pretty fantastic year :o)

I used }this{ fabulous workbook from Leonie Dawson to pull all things resolutions together, and it was wonderful to be guided and cheered along, beginning with a Closing Ceremony for 2015.  When the workbook arrived in the mail and I took a sneak peek through it, the review of last year was intimidating - 2015 was an nondescript blur, and I thought I wouldn't be able to fill even a quarter page with memories.  But with time and gentle review, lo and behold, the page was filled with so many things too good to forget.

With Leonie's cheery and colorful promptings, I considered what I wanted 2016 to be.  What resulted wasn't the tidy list of New Years Resolutions that I've crafted in years past, but a body of work that stands on its own.  It's part scrapbooking, part doodling, part dreaming, part planning.  I feel like the year came in a box labeled "Assembly Required" and the satisfying outcome is for real, bright and shiny.

One of the most significant lessons I began to internalize just the tiniest bit in 2015 is that victories aren't in the completion of a thing.  Victories come in behavior, whether it's a drastic change or taking one step and then another and another toward a goal.  If I want a healthier body, for example, the true victories come in taking my vitamins, drinking water, regular exercise and eating more healthfully.  A number on the scale and a size on a dress isn't the victory, it's just a representation of the real thing.  The real victory is in the daily choices and behaviors that bring about change.

My 2016 resolutions reflect a focus on behaviors, then, rather than outcomes.  I'm looking for ways of being as opposed to things to accomplish.  Here are the biggies of what I'm aspiring to in 2016:


Walk 500 miles (I use the MapMyWalk app on my phone)
Count Calories (I use MyFitnessPal)
Eat more vegetables (three cheers for green smoothies!)


Craft projects just for the fun of it
Take more pictures of all of us (look out family!)
Learn to make Bread Pudding (as good as that one 28 years ago in the little cafe on the Waxachie town square)


Celebrate family in all configurations (i.e. less than all of us is still family!)
Host special family dinners at the table once a week (even if not everyone is home!)
Surf the Internet together on Family Surfing Night once a month (even if not everyone is home!)
Go adventuring on more field trips


Cultivate the habit of taking breaks (using the Pomodoro method and the Pomodroido app)
Count gratitude every day
Capture and retain things I learn with better note taking and review


The word "attentive" popped up several times from various sources over the past few weeks, and that's the word I've chosen as my word for 2016.  I regret that so much of my life just slides right by uncelebrated, unenjoyed, unnoticed and unsavored.  I expect being attentive to my life will help me appreciate and experience its goodness more often and more deeply.


As companion to my word of the year, I also chose a Bible verse that echoes the same sentiment: "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who trusts in Him." (Psalm 34:8)  Obviously, there will be a lot of eating this year.  (just kidding)  When I started looking for a special verse for 2016, I wasn't trying to make my word and verse reflect each other, but this verse is where God lead me - funny how that works, isn't it?  I love that the verse speaks to experiencing God's goodness through the senses, which would be the deepest attentiveness to life possible.

I also learned in 2015 that what the smart kids keep saying is true:  if you want to change something, you have to track it.  By the end of the year I could see that even inconsistent tracking made a significant impact, so for 2016 I upped the ante and identified 16 daily behaviors that will drive me to satisfying results at the end of the year if I just stick to it and do them daily (I'm using an Excel spreadsheet to track them).  To listen to a great podcast from Todd Henry at The Accidental Creative about what he calls The Dailies, click }here{ - it's great stuff.

I'm excited to see what 2016 will bring and will be savoring the "oh yeah, I have this whole thing figured out" feeling for as long as I possibly can.  Probably about five more minutes.

New Years Resolutions are something I completely geek out about (can you tell?), and I'm fascinated when other people talk about their New Years goals.  Did you make resolutions this year?  What kind of things have you resolved?

p.s. all photos in this post are of Leonie Dawson's Shining Year Workbook.  
Aren't they so happy?

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

  1. it's the same every single year. i'm grateful that *this* is the year I WILL DO IT ALL! ;)