A fresh new year is here! Excitement and sparkling, diamond-chip snow is flying through the air here at the tiny house. It is the time of year for hopes, dreams, wild predictions, and New Year’s resolutions.
Falling Off the Wagon with Resolutions
But let’s face it: standard New Year’s resolutions are usually boring, make-or-break, and abandoned by springtime: “quit smoking,” “work out five times a week,” or “lose X number of pounds.”
Maybe it’s time to do something different and choose goals for the new year in a new way. Resolutions that are unique, simple, achievable, even liberating.
Choose a Word
Throughout the tiny house build and my pregnancy with Hazelnut, endurance, like ivy through a snowy winter, was my state of being. But a will to endure only lasts so long. And so last year I chose joy.
That was my only resolution of sorts – one word that contained within it the hope of seeing through the pain, the failure, the uncertainty. And I still have the choice every day to be happy, breathe in the scenery, smile, laugh, love the children, and trust God for our daily bread.
Sometimes choosing one word is enough to focus our year and keep us mindful. It was for me! And it naturally manifested into a simple practice: noticing and writing down the sweet moments every month I’m thankful for.
Choose a Direction
If your resolution is, say, to be healthier or more generous, start small. Instead of specifying a goal that is easy to fail once and never recover, you could start moving in a positive direction.
- Start to replace processed foods with real foods, one by one. The Healthy Home Economist, Holistic Squid, and Wellness Mama are abundant resources for a way of life around real, whole foods eating.
- Get your bike repaired, familiarize yourself with good biking routes, and pick a couple nearby destinations you frequent to start biking to rather than taking the car.
- Buy or make a stack of cards, and look for opportunities to write people a quick note saying “thank you,” “I care,” or “thinking of you.”
- Keep a case of snacks or water in your car to hand to homeless people. You won’t feel conflicted by having to choose to either look away or give cash that may exacerbate their problems. It’s not a permanent solution, but a caring act nonetheless. You may choose to include a note of encouragement, a list of resources, or even an entire care package.
Choose Personal Growth
- Take the Myers Briggs personality assessment and seek out a counselor who specializes in careers or relationships in regards to this. You’ll learn volumes about who you are, your aptitudes and decision making, how to deepen your love and understanding for others, which pursuits are worthy of your energies . . . the list goes on. Read What Color is Your Parachute? as a powerful complementary to this.
- Read your significant other’s favorite book. Years ago, Big Country read mine (Jane Eyre), and I read his (Les Misérables). It deepens your bond and demonstrates how much you care about who the other person is. And who knows, perhaps you’ll discover a new favorite of your own.
- Read books aloud to your children, like The Hobbit, Little House on the Prairie, The Chronicles of Narnia. It will knit you together, build patience and listening in your kids, and build sweet memories.
- Explore the world of economics. It’s actually fascinating! Explore the different worldviews of Keynesian vs. Austrian, conservative vs. liberal, authoritarian vs. libertarian. Check out the dynamic Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) for a plethora of new entertaining articles daily.
- Explore the world of personal finance and begin reimagining yourself as less a consumer and more a creative producer. Read Your Money or Your Life and have your eyes opened as to how the money and time that flows quickly through your life are the same. Reevaluate your job, mine the meaning of your life, change everything for the better.
- Practice a foreign language with someone else who wants to practice your language. Half an hour of Spanish / Mandarin / Arabic, half an hour of English . . . it’s a win-win.
Choose Something Fun
Why not choose a resolution to have more fun?
- Ask your uncle for that rifle he promised you, practice shooting with him, sign up for a hunter’s safety course, and get your hunting license in time for fall.
- Visit something local and new to you. Take a donut factory tour, explore a musical instrument museum, attend a summer peach festival in your area.
- Make time for someone you don’t see regularly, perhaps a relative, older friend, or younger acquaintance. Call them up and suggest that you go fishing, use up all your fabric scraps to make a quilt together, or share in some yard work projects.
- Get an outdoorsy group together to climb a mountain, tube down the river, or picnic at the lake.
- Host a bring-your-own board game night. Friends, snacks, lots of laughs – what’s not to love? And who knows, it may become a regular thing.
- Ask that guy from Peter’s party about his non-profit Filipino stick fighting classes, free to the public (not making this one up).
What are your Resolutions for the New Year?
If the ideas above sound rather like meaningful memories rather than do’s and don’ts, then good.
I think it’s time we look at our approach to goals differently, following our passions and values with fewer self-imposed stumbling blocks and more . . . joy!