It’s still early, but I had to ask, “Have you given up yet?” By now many of those New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. Yep, one week in and loads of folks have already eaten a piece of pie or slept through that 5am alarm. Sad, but true.
I gave up New Year’s resolutions years ago. I sort of floundered for a while wondering what to do if I didn’t “resolve” to do something. Then I learned to own my anti-resolution phase. Now I take a different approach. This one serves me quite a bit better.
You may have seen my eZine, Embracing the Apple, last week where I spoke of one piece of my new approach, which is to choose a word of the year that guides you throughout the year. This approach lasts- all 12 months! So if you havent’ read that one, check it out.
But let’s move on.
The other thing that I find helps me to be focused, productive, and happy is setting priorities. Three maybe four overarching priorities. This is going to sound WAAAAAY simple, but think about it for a moment-
Let’s say you set family as your number one priority, but by February you are working 50 hours a week and too tired to even deal with the children when you get home each evening. Is family really a priority? You may convince yourself that no one else can do your job or you’ll lose your job if you don’t work or you won’t have money to stay in your home without that many hours. Some of these ideas may even represent reality to you, but if family is priority and you don’t spend any time with them it seems to me you will be living in a state of discomfort and guilt because what you WANT and what you DO are not working together.
So, what now? I recommend you get clear about what the priority of family looks and feels like to you. Really think this through. Start by making a list of your “dream life” with family as priority. Hold no boundaries dream big.
Second, go through your list and circle the 5 ideas that you love the most. At this point you have something to work with. If you feel overwhelmed, cut your list down to two or even to one. The object here is to recognize what your priority of family looks like and then begin to carve out small bits of time, space, and energy that will enable you to live congruently. NO huge resolutions. Simply a few small “go to” strategies that allow you to honor your priority.
I am constantly revisiting my priority of family. I LOVE my work. I could work 24-7 even though it really dulls the creative senses- and ROBS ME OF FAMILY TIME. So, for me to live without guilt and live in alignment with that priority, I developed several “go to” strategies. Here are a few of them:
- go to bed by 11pm
- eat dinner together
- plan ahead to give attention to my son right after school
- recognize and be prepared for some late night conversation with my eldest child
You see, I didn’t resolve to go to bed by 11pm every night- that would have already be blown to bits as a resolution. Instead I keep family as a priority in my life by having “go-to” strategies at the ready that fit in the life I lead.
Life around my home is constantly changing. By having an overriding priority, I can ebb and flow with life feeling at peace because I am living congruent to my priorities- but without constraint and unreal expectations.
If you like the sounds of living in peace with your priorities in tact, give the word of the year and setting priorities a try. I hope you’ll find it as freeing and beautiful as I do.