My version of a New Year's resolution post
Happy New Year! It is that time of year - resolutions, commitments, and restarts. How's it going for you?
I have to admit - I'm not doing so great. I didn't pause over the holidays to reflect or make any true commitments. I didn't even make any new resolutions, but I did (sort of) recommit to a few habits I've been working on:
Drink warm water with fresh lemon every morning
Read, pray, and journal with my warm lemon water
I'm on Day 4 and have done none of them every day.
And I felt crummy about it.
With all the resolution-speak swirling in the world right now, I was starting to feel frustrated and ashamed (I mean, who at this age doesn't floss regularly?). It isn't like my list is difficult, stressful, or requires months of work to see a result.
Many of you are facing a big goal - having a baby in 2018 - and seeking changes that will move you toward that . So I wanted to share something more helpful other than "it's ok to give up on your resolutions," (which may be the case, but I'm not ready for that yet and I doubt you are, either). I knew it needed to be authentic and something I was following myself.
I decided to pause and consider - something I should have done from the beginning - and understand my real motivation. What I realized in my reflection was there was no purpose driving me toward any of these new habits. Sure, lots of people say these habits are good for me. And when I do them, I feel good. But that was it. Meh.
I needed a deeper motivation and I needed a plan. So here's what I did and suggest for you.
uncover your true motivation
Ask yourself why you're doing this.
Are you doing it because you want to, or because you think you should? Are you doing it because it will add joy, energy, and delight to your day? (If the answer is no to either of these, maybe reconsider the goal.)
Maybe you dread the task or can't seem to find the time right now, but you think if you can "just" commit and keep going, it will get better. (I believe this about journaling for me, by the way.) But those days that you don't do it - the guilt, frustration, and discouragement start to overshadow the potential benefits and you ultimately give up.
In this case, give yourself a break. And then dig a little deeper.
be kind and take breaks
I believe strongly in an 80/20 rule: 80% of the time stick with the plan, allowing for skips/"cheats"/rest 20% of the time. (In a week, this is about a day and a half.) Not to say go crazy and undo all the good work you've already done, but easing up a bit can give you the rest you need to remember your motivation and gain the energy to get back to it. Maybe even adjust your plan (more on that in a bit).
If you've been told by a fertility doctor or practitioner to adjust your diet or lifestyle, for example, that may be an example where it will pay off to keep going. If these changes are a struggle, try paying attention to an 80/20 rule, broadening your motivation, and look for opportunities to adjust the plan.
broaden your motivation
The motivation you really need may not be as narrow as "to get pregnant." Often with that singular motivation - when so much of reaching the goal is out of our control - commitments and changes within our control start to carry more baggage than they deserve. For example, giving up coffee becomes something we have to do, that we hate, that we miss, that we crave - rather than a choice made to improve our health, be gentler to our body, and provide an opportunity to find a new morning ritual (like warm lemon water or tea, for example).
In these cases, I encourage you to think beyond the primary motivator to build your family. Yes, getting pregnant is important. Yes, that is the ultimate goal. But try not to let it be the consuming goal.
Dig deep for a broader motivation. Is it to bring more peace, greater perspective, more self-compassion to your life and your family building journey? Is it to learn something new? Is it to build curiosity? Is it to use one of your talents in a new way?
And maybe, also, make space for a resolution that has nothing to do with family building. Something that just sounds like fun, is energizing, and the motivation comes naturally from within.
Think broadly. Be kind to yourself. Building your family isn't something you can control or force. You can, though, control your mindset. You can bring ease and peace to the process. In doing so, I believe, you can improve your chances of success.
make a (simple) plan
Once you have your motivation, you need a plan.
Keep the plan simple. Know what you're going to do, when, and how. Keep your payoff in mind - what you gain once this is completed or accomplished (the motivation).
This means you list in detail what steps need to be taken (the what), schedule it (the when), and think through all that needs to happen or could get in the way of you finishing your task (the how).
So back to my resolutions.
After a bit of contemplation, I realized my deeper motivation: the morning rituals (lemon water, journaling, prayer, and reading) provide a calm, centering, start to my day. When I do these things, I am more present, patient, and - let's face it - nicer, in the morning. I have more energy and a positive perspective throughout the day. My plan to make sure these happen? Bedtime by 10 PM, alarm set for 5:45 AM, no more than 1 snooze button push, cut up lemons in the fridge, a specific plan for reading (Bible devotional) and journaling (working my way through these). Doing these things helps me be kinder to my loved ones as they start their days.
Mediation is something I've been trying, learning about, and genuinely enjoy. I just don't do it every day. After thinking about it, maybe a commitment to daily isn't necessary? The forced time seems to be something I am resisting, when in fact, meditation is all about letting go. I enjoy grabbing a few minutes here and there or being intentional about meditating at times where I know it to be beneficial, such as before a client session. So, for now, I'm just relaxing into that being enough.
And the flossing. Well, the public shame is pretty motivating for me. My plan? After brushing my teeth, before washing my face. The floss is next to my face wash. I'll let you know how it goes. (Accountability = more motivation.)
What about you? What are your resolutions? What's the - true - motivation behind them? What's your plan to follow through? Would love to hear how you're doing now and a few weeks from now. Does knowing the deeper and broader motivation help you stick to them? Does a specific, simple, plan make it easier?
(And, if the idea of improving your mindset and bringing ease and peace to your family building journey is appealing but you aren't sure where to start, let me know. Happy to help.)