New Year Challenges (Goals for an Improved, Better Me)


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Carli Jean

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Carli Jean

New Year’s Resolutions are a tradition I usually avoid. I’ve tried making them before, but often lose the willpower about mid-February (my birthday month…I wonder if there’s a correlation…) to keep up momentum. However, THIS New Year, I’m determined to continue some of the successes I experienced last year and improve upon my willpower in 2016. After all, the biggest hindrance (and sometimes the ONLY hindrance) to reaching my goals, is ME.

Someone I greatly admire and trust (my pastor) recently said it this way, “One day at a time. We don’t need a successful life, we need a successful DAY. We don’t live year by year, or month by month, or even week by week. We live day by day.”

Mind. BLOWN.

For all of my smarts, I never thought of it quite like that before. It’s rather refreshing and stress-relieving to think of my life – another year in the life of – in 1-day chunks, in which everything is new all over again, instead of as a 365-bunch and we’re cycling downhill from day one.

So, here is my list of “resolutions” for 2016, to be worked on one day at a time:

  1. Be a more consistent parent. People are always telling me I’m a good mother. Sometimes I believe them. But I know that I’ve been lacking in true consistency with my son – a regular, fun, “mother & son” day/time; consequences for negative behavior; teaching him how to be responsible; how to be kind and thoughtful; how to clean (but that’s not really a mystery – I HATE cleaning. Except for laundry. I don’t mind doing the laundry); how to be a man…I may not REALLY know how to be a man, but I DO know what a WOMAN looks for in a friend, husband and father. That’s my gift to all the other women currently in his life and those in his future. You’re welcome.
  2. Become a better writer. I’m not sure if it’s ironic, but the more I edit other authors’ works, the more conscientious I become of my own writing, and I think it’s making me a better writer. My editor should be able to tell me for sure when I finally send him my second novel. 😉One day at a time2
  3. Be more empathetic. I see myself as a pretty tolerant person, but not as compassionate as I could be. There’s a difference, I think, because while I’m TOLERANT of cultures, ideas, lifestyles and beliefs different from mine, I don’t always have EMPATHY for them. Immigrants, for example, who aren’t native English speakers. I’m fine with them keeping their own languages and cultures, but PLEASE, PEOPLE, learn ENGLISH. The USA is an ENGLISH-speaking country. Try to assimilate. If I move to YOUR non-English-speaking native country, I’m going to work to learn YOUR language, not expect you to adapt to mine. See what I mean? Not very empathetic…
  4. Replace my vehicle. I’m tired of having things go wrong with my vehicle. Every time I have a slight financial cushion, something ELSE needs to be fixed or replaced. 😦 Now I just have to do more research whether it’ll be more cost-effective to lease or purchase and how much of a monthly payment my budget can handle. *gulp*
  5. Save more of my income. I like having a cushion of cash in the bank. But I’m a free-spirit when it comes to money. Somehow, I need to bridge the gap between my – as my mother calls it – “champagne taste on a beer budget.” (Vehicle repairs notwithstanding.)
  6. Nurture my Faith. As much as I need my medication and my therapist, I need my Faith more. The three together (with my Faith taking the biggest chunk of the pie) help balance the days of depression and anxiety with sanity. I think I’ve found a balance I can live with, and need to maintain and strengthen it.

    Texas, May 2000 (age 26). Right about the time I got pregnant. I was about a size 14 and soooo slender.

    Texas, May 2000 (age 26). Right about the time I got pregnant. I was a size 14 and sooo slender.

  7. Lose 20 pounds. That’s about 1-2 pounds a month, give or take. I’ve done it before & feel better physically, mentally, emotionally when I’m a bit…less…of me than there is currently. I’m overweight. I know I don’t look it ’cause I’m almost 6ft tall, but trust me, I am. I never had much weight angst in my teens and 20s. Not until I became preggers and my doctor told me to PUT ON weight, did I begin the Dance with the Scale. I put on 60+ pounds. And then more poundage AFTER I had my son. I’m curvy and big-boned (go ahead and laugh, but it’s true), so I’ll never be smaller than say, a size 12. A size 10 would be pushing the anorexia look. I love food too much to be anorexic, and hate puking too much to be bulimic (I know neither of those illnesses are that simple, but those are the side effects/symptoms that make the greatest impression on me). This year, instead of stressing myself out with a drastic goal (such as losing 60 lbs), I’ve decided to start off with something I can handle – 20 lbs. For the whole year. This I can do, because I’ve done it before. I just have to have the willpower to do it and maintain it. I’d love to magically wake tomorrow looking like and weighing what I did in 2000 before my pregnancy, but I’ll settle for dropping 20 lbs. 🙂

    Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2014 (age 40). Not so slender anymore.

    Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2014 (age 40). Not so slender anymore. 😦

  8. Be a better friend. I think I’m a pretty decent friend, but COULD take more time to spend and talk with friends who are on the fringes and outside of my inner circle, which, admittedly, is quite small. Quality is most important, but you can never have too many friends. At least, I don’t THINK you can…I’ll let you know…
  9. Travel to Europe. Again. I inherited the nomadic spirit of my Jewish ancestors (I realize this was thrust upon them in many cases, but still…), which was fostered by my father when I was a kid. We – my parents, younger brother and I (before the “accident” joined our family in 1985 😉 ) – spent several summers crisscrossing the US in my dad’s little Datsun. Visiting family, historical sites and antique shops. Good times. 🙂 I love to travel, seek out adventures in new and interesting places, soak up the cultures and languages of lands other than my own. And Europe – all of it – is my favorite. Even the places I’ve not yet visited. I need to work for National Geographic as a photojournalist. Or just become independently wealthy and visit book fairs worldwide, all year long.
  10. Attend at least 3 Author Events. I’ve registered to attend 2 this year as an Author, and a 3rd as Assistant to another author. Looking forward to the networking, rubbing shoulders with other readers, making contacts. Selling copies of my book(s) would be a bonus. 🙂
  11. Increase my author/writer/person brand. Write more blog posts for my own site and as a guest on other sites, virtually host more book tours, submit my writing to various publications and contests. This is on-going. I’ve gained momentum this past year, working with my awesome Gravity peeps, and Rachel Thompson, our director and social media queen. Now if I can just find a way to keep up. 😉
  12. Buy more books. Support my author friends. I’ve been doing this a bit over the past year. Hope to increase my collection this year. My bookcases groan in pleasure under the weight of these written treasures. 🙂 Hopefully my budget won’t groan in pain with the strain. *pours over the bank account*

So these are the things at the top of my “resolutions” list for 2016. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

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Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Bucketlist, Depression, Family, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Random, Stuff, Writing

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