Raise your hand if you’ve ever made New Year’s resolutions. You’ve got your hand raised, don’t you? Me too.
It doesn’t seem to matter which stage of life a woman is experiencing, there always seems to be more that we can do. More ways to help others. More ways to “improve” ourselves. More commitments we can make, habits to perfect, and hobbies to try.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This year? I ain’t doin’ it.
Just Say No
Nope! Ladies, I am just too swamped at this point in my life to add one more blessed thing to the list of stuff I need to do. My brain and my calendar are already full to bursting with requirements on my time and energy. So it only makes sense that resolving to do more and add to the crazy is a huge turn off for me.
Not to mention that I am so bad at keeping these resolutions! Year after year, I disappoint myself when all of my good intentions get thrown out the window by about mid-February. My heart can’t take it anymore!
So, how about we agree to free up a little of that self-induced stress and disappointment?
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How about we resolve to UN-RESOLVE?
I know, I know. I can hear you. “But Beth, isn’t that a resolution in and of itself?”
The difference between a resolution and an UN-resolution, though, is intention. When you resolve to do something, you are essentially adding to your mental/emotional/physical/etc. load. But when you UN-resolve, you are releasing or diminishing part of the load that you carry every day.
A resolution usually starts off as an “I will” statement and involves some sort of action on your part, right? I will lose 10 pounds. I will pray a Rosary every day. I will spend more time reading. I will…I will…I will…
And while all of these things are excellent goals and would probably be greatly beneficial, there are seasons in our lives where adding one more thing to our to-do lists feels incredibly daunting.
An UN-resolution, on the other hand, might start off as an “I won’t” statement, making it more of a mindset than anything else. Of course, if you’re anything like me, these battles against my stubborn and hardheaded mindset are the most difficult. The ones that require the most (dare I say it?) resolve to win. But in winning them, we free ourselves from ourselves. We find the space we need to really become who God wants us to be.
So, sisters, what are some areas where we can make UN-resolutions this year?
I’m going to be super vulnerable here and say this is probably my most difficult area. I’ve spent years actively loathing this ever-changing body God gave me. Every diet, every exercise fad…I’ve tried it. Every negative thought…I’ve had it. I’ve been bigger, I’ve been smaller, and, frankly, it doesn’t matter. Who I am as a person made in the image and likeness of God has not changed just because my body looks different.
Being kind to this body is really hard for me. And, I’d bet you have felt the same. So this year, let’s choose an UN-resolution or two and cut ourselves some slack, yes?
- I won’t use negative self-talk against my body.
- I won’t beat myself up if I don’t stick perfectly to my diet.
- I won’t look at foods as good or bad, but simply as fuel to keep me going.
- I won’t look at exercise as punishment, but as a way to keep my body in good working order.
- I won’t harm my body by putting things into it that are detrimental to my health.
It would seem like adding more and more ways to enhance our fatih life could only be a good thing, right? But how often do we get caught up in the cycle of doing everything we think we are supposed to do and then realize that we are doing none of it well?
Maybe, for some of us, our soul-life needs to be looked at from a new point of view. Instead of doing all the things, maybe we shift focus a bit?
- I won’t take it out on myself if my kids misbehave in Mass.
- I won’t use my children as an excuse to stay away from time with the Lord.
- I won’t avoid the confessional like the plague.
- I won’t believe that small amounts of time spent in prayer are insignificant.
- I won’t compare the prayer lives of other women to my own.
This one’s a doozy, isn’t it? So let’s dive right in.
My favorite saint-friend St. Mother Theodore Guerin once wrote:
We are not called upon to do all the good that is possible, but only that which we can do.
Amazing, isn’t it, how something a nun wrote in a letter over 160 years ago can still be so relevant today? How many of us feel completely tapped out by the demands that we allow the world to place on us? I know I do!
So let’s take a little time at the start of this brand new year to clear some of our mental clutter. Maybe we can all take hint from Mother Theodore.
- I won’t immediately answer “yes” to every request made of me.
- I won’t allow myself to think that saying “no” to an opportunity or request equates to failure.
- I won’t compare my “behind the scenes” life to someone else’s social media “highlight reel.”
- I won’t dismiss my own feelings.
- I won’t give into the temptation to think that doing less means that I am worth less.
I was straightening up our family room the other day when I noticed that the old toy box where we keep blankets was overflowing so much that it wouldn’t shut. Fuzzy blankets, afghans, and fleece throws were falling out all over the place! I knew we hadn’t added any new blankets. And I knew that, if properly folded, everything should fit inside quite neatly. So I took a few moments to clear things out.
I went through the blankets and decided which ones needed washed. I folded and stacked the ones that were left. Wouldn’t you know it, that lid closed perfectly!
So it goes with our mindset and our outlook at the start of the New Year. We don’t always need to add things to make a situation better. Sometimes, all it takes to improve our lives is to give them a good clearing out. It’s in the clearing out that we make room for growth.We don’t always need to add things to make a situation better. Sometimes, all it takes to improve our lives is to give them a good clearing out. It’s in the clearing out that we make room for growth. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
As you enter this new year, what are some areas of your life that could use some UN-resolution? Is there a mindset that needs to be shifted a bit? What physical, soulful, or mental space could you clear out to make room for growth?Making Un-Resolutions for the New Year #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Beth Williby is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She is a mom of four pretty amazing humans and has been married to her college sweetheart for almost twenty years. She does her best praying through singing and feeding the people she loves. Having grown up in the Midwest, she now calls Northeast Florida home. You can find out more about her here.