Resolution: Living the Good Life
Posted on December 28 2016
New Year’s is just a few days away and that means everyone is going to start asking “What is your New Year’s Resolution?” We all fall victim to the usual list of losing weight, working out, getting “organized,” etc. But, how long do these actually last? A month, two, possibly three? For me, I have often said I was going to start running but I absolutely do not enjoy running so it never lasts. Why do these resolutions just turn into a list taped up in the kitchen or in our planner? Because we don’t enjoy them! We are looking for them to make us happy, content, and fulfilled but they never will.
Instead of a list of resolutions, make a lifestyle change. It’s not so much about adding something new to your life as it is letting something go. To make a lifestyle change you have to stop and answer some questions. The questions I stopped and asked myself were:
- What is the lifestyle I want to live? What do I want my days to be occupied doing?
- What is the daily example I want to be for my son, family, friends, co-workers, and strangers?
- What is the reason I am not content and fulfilled? What am I searching for?
Answering these questions allowed me to change a lot more than just adding a workout routine to my schedule. My answers went something like this:
- I greatly enjoy working. I like setting goals and going after them. I like having a to-do list that seems impossible. I want to be busy! I also want to come home each day to a clean and orderly home (but I have a son and 5 dogs) and relax after my busy day. I want to enjoy a glass of wine on the porch with my husband. I want to throw a steak on the grill. I want to bake up a batch of cookies with my son and lick the bowl together. I want to go on a boat ride with the dogs standing on the bow, ears flapping in the breeze. I want to have 3 cups of coffee on Saturday morning while staying in my PJ’s until 10. I like the whole work hard play hard lifestyle. It’s not for everyone, but it is the lifestyle that I enjoying living. It is my good life.
- This question stirred even more soul searching. The answer I found was grace and patience. I grew up around animals (horses and dogs) and have always had grace and patience with them but I was missing it in my everyday life. I was treating others the way I was being treated in a lot of circumstances rather than choosing to treat others the way I wanted to be treated. Once I embraced grace and patience, it completely changed every day for me. The anxiety went away and my day was calmer, my attitude more pleasant, my mind clearer, and it made for a more peaceful life and home. I found that people reacted to me differently. When you act with grace and patience, people (most of the time) will respond with grace and patience. Even for those that don’t, I simply remind myself that they probably needed my grace and patience more than anyone I encountered that day. Just let things go. Don’t be consumed by negativity.
- I was constantly worried about letting people down; that I was not meeting other’s expectations of me. What I was completely forgetting was the expectations I had for myself. I was letting myself down. You can’t be content and fulfilled if you are repeatedly letting yourself down and staying focused on other’s expectations. The answer to this question goes hand in hand with the first two. I was searching for a daily lifestyle that made me happy. I was searching for a way to lose the anxiety. I was searching for a way to better deal with all that life throws at you every day. I was searching for constant approval from others rather than from myself. I ended the search and thus fulfilled myself.
Now that my questions were answered, I had to make an Action Plan in order to make a lifestyle change. My action plan was a bit like this:
- I sat down and got a lot more organized with planning my daily work schedule and my daily goals and tasks. I separated personal schedules and goals from business. I broke down and hired a cleaning service for our home (the cost trade off was worth it to me), we cancelled cable so TV no longer disrupted our evenings, we purged things that didn’t make sense for our daily life (still working on the garage though). This cleared the way for successful, goal accomplished days and evenings and weekends filled with family and fun times!
- Grace and patience do not happen overnight. I have to work at this one every day. I start my mornings with a grateful heart. I stop and count my blessings (even if it is in the shower or while packing a lunch box). This alone can truly change perspective. Repeatedly stop and pause throughout the day and be grateful. It will change you. Be empathetic. You never know what others may be dealing with.
- I created my own expectations for myself. I learned to say NO! You can’t let others constantly guilt you in to doing something. I greatly enjoying volunteering but you can’t be everything to your child’s school, your church, community organizations, and the list goes on. Make a decision of which activities work for you and your schedule and commit only to those. In my professional life, I made a commitment to do all of my tasks at the highest professional level while also being committed to a high level of customer service. If I let someone down, I will own up to it and make it right. After all those are expectations I have of myself. However, if I find someone is being unreasonable, I have a conversation to work it out. The situation will never improve if not addressed and you will constantly feel as if you are disappointing others.
You may want to ask yourself the same questions or there may be certain things in your life that drive different questions to answer and address. Regardless, we all deserve to be happy, content, and fulfilled. We all have our own definition of the good life and we can create it for ourselves if we define what it is then make a plan to capture it! Wishing 2017 to be the best year ever for each and every one of you!