I gave up on traditional New Year’s resolutions years ago after finally accepting the fact that I never really accomplished them. It was easy to sit down and make a list of the 30 ways in which I felt like I needed to do better, but much more difficult to actually improve those things because I got completely overwhelmed with my long list of imperfections. After a couple of weeks of trying to change too many things at once, I always gave up and fell back into old habits. That pattern changed for me when I discovered a new way to look at resolutions. Instead of making long lists of things to accomplish, I started focusing on a single word or idea that I could use to guide and shape my actions and habits throughout the year. One word was much less intimidating, not to mention easier to keep in the forefront of my mind as I made decisions throughout the year. This approach has worked much better for me than detailed lists of goals.
With 2015 on my heels, I have thought long and hard about what word to choose for this year. As I enjoyed a quiet Christmas with my family, I kept thinking about how I only have two more years…two more Christmases…until my kids start leaving home. That is no time at all, and I know it is going to feel like the blink of an eye. Although that thought makes me feel sad and a little bit old, it mostly makes me realize that I need to take advantage of the time that I have. I need to be more deliberate about teaching these kids so that they will be well prepared to tackle the world on their own. Although I have been trying to do that for years, now it is crunch time. I no longer have time for meaningless distractions. I need to focus like I have never focused before, and that is where my word for 2015 comes in…
I need to simplify in order to free up more time and energy for things that really matter. I need to get rid of clutter, excess busyness, and time-wasting distractions so that I can make clear and deliberate daily decisions to teach my kids with purpose. So much of that teaching is informal, and I don’t want to be so caught up in the “thick of thin things,” that I miss those opportunities. I need to live be truly present for my family. Too often I have a phone in my hand or my mind a million miles away from what is going on right in front of me, and that needs to change. I need more simplicity and renewed focus, and that is what this year is going to be all about for me.
I plan to focus on several different aspects of simplicity over the course of the year, including de-cluttering, contentment, balancing busyness with down time, managing technological distractions, simplifying household tasks, and learning the art of simple food. A tall order, but a singular focus, with the ultimate goal of creating space in my life for the things that matter most.
Some of you may have heard me mention my favorite blog on simplifying, Becoming Minimalist, by Joshua Becker. His writing resonates with me and hundreds of thousands of other readers. You can read his Top Posts of 2014, which will give you a good base if you are considering the jump to simplicity in your own life. I also really enjoy The Art of Simple, by Tsh Oxenreider, and No Sidebar, by Brian Gardner, Allison Vesterfelt, and Melissa Camara Wilkens. I highly recommend all of them if you are in the mood for a little simplicity.
Now I must push onward….My simple year awaits.