New Year, New Thinking

The last few weeks it seems everyone I know has been buzzing about their New Year’s resolutions. I’ve even seen celebrities on television and in magazines pledging to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. Let me be honest and straight with you: I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. This year I have a better idea…

For years I’ve made a list between Christmas and New Year’s of resolutions that I plan to tackle and stick to.  Most of my friends and family do the same. Now, I think I am a “glass half-full” kind of girl.  I try to look at the bright side of things and try to stay positive.  But when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, frankly, I feel it is a way to set myself up for failure. January first, I was going to give up sweets, but in my Christmas stocking came some lovely truffles, and I broke that promise January second. (I wonder what is the percentage of us that have “lose weight” and “get fit” as a resolution)?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for changing our lives and improving ourselves. One of the greatest life changes for me happened last year, when our household pledged to go “organic”.  Now feeling better than ever, it was a gradual change, not something we dove into headfirst.  New Year’s resolutions seem hard to do, like we need to change things “cold-turkey”.  Additionally, all too-often, resolutions become not what we want to change, but, what we haven’t accomplished.

As much as I love traditional and vintage things, I am also a fan of modern conveniences and technology.  However, with all of our phones, computers, applications, calendars, and planners, sometimes our busy lives become just that – too busy, an endless ‘To Do List’.  Cross off one thing, run to the next, multi-tasking and always feeling we “have to get it all done”.

We moms show pride in everything our children do, from the minute they execute the most basic of human tasks like walking, to each precious crayoned work of art, all the while never congratulating ourselves on what we do.  How many young mothers have you heard say, “I just can’t get anything done!”

I teach both adult and child knitting classes in my town.  One little student taught me a lesson I will never forget.  She was in a Beginners’ class and just couldn’t get the garter stitch.  Everyone else in the class had several inches of scarf done, and she barely had stitches cast on.  Then one day, she just got it. It was her celebration of her accomplishment that was so remarkable. She was so happy, and kept saying to her friends, “Look!  I’ve got it!  I’m knitting!”   It wasn’t bragging she was doing, it was joy she conveyed at her accomplishment, and it was just contagious!  We all were thrilled for her, and it was one of the best classes I ever taught.  That little girl reminded me to “stop and smell the roses”.  She taught me to keep trying, and to be happy when I accomplish something, not just move on without paying attention.

I think Mother Nature knows what I’m thinking.  This past weekend, we were hit with a major snowstorm, thus forcing us all to slow down.  I put down my “To-Do” list, donned my snow pants, and went outside with my daughter.  We went sledding, made snow angels, and had a ball.  Quality time with my daughter was time well spent.

So, here’s what I propose.  Keep your list of New Year’s resolutions, but also make a list of what you DID accomplish.  Everyday, try to celebrate the little things, as well, like making a great dinner, knitting a new scarf, learning something new, or just getting the dishes done before it’s time to start the next meal.  Join me, as I make “slow down ” a priority at home. Pat yourself on the back once in a while, so to speak.  Take care of everyone and everything we need to, but let’s not forget to also take care of ourselves.

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  1. Glad to hear you got outside and spent time with your daughter.

  2. Linda M says:

    What an excellent idea! I am starting with yesterday. "Made a great pan of lasagne" and "found 7 eggs in the coop". I bet I can find one great, good or less bad thing about each day to jot into my calendar. Thanks! My new years resolution was to put more beauty around me. I dolled up around my computer area with doilies, candles, smooth stones and pictures of quilts I want to make someday stuck on the wall. Next I am going to paint the inside of my kitchen drawers green!

  3. Laurie Dimino says:

    Nicole-
    SO well said. 2010 was not a "good" year for me…I lost my beloved grandfather at the age of 98 and 1/2 to cancer in January and my beloved Dad to cancer in August. In the midst of that we had to put our sweetheart of a dog to sleep after 11 years in May. Needless to say I was happy to say goodbye to 2010. All of the tragedy- taught me an invaluable lesson…to stop running around and just "be". I have learned to enjoy everyday or at least something about everyday. I have let go of many things that were taking time away from my family and now enjoy quiet nights at home with them. I’m lovin it and look forward to just taking the time to enjoy the little things in life! That is my "resolution" this year!
    Thanks for sharing your great blogs with us all. MaryJanesFarm has enriched my life so much, and I have met so many wonderful sisters.
    Thank you and Congratulations to you!
    Farmgirl Smiles,
    Laurie

    Laurie, so sad to hear about your losses.  Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.  Farmgirl Hugs,

                                   – Nicole

  4. Lisa says:

    I share your thoughts and feelings. Words like slowing down and simplify are high on my list. I have recently discovered that by not having the television on in the evenings has allowed me to feel more relaxed and yet I seem to be accomplishing more. It has really been a shock. I’m finding that I would rather have memories of experiencing life and the joy that comes with it, than trying to remember which show I watched that looked like something I would enjoy. Television is great, but I think by breaking my dependence on some of the conveniences, I will feel more happy and satisfied.

  5. Cat says:

    Lol….I totally agree with you! In fact, that *was* my New Year’s rezzie! 😉

  6. Rhonda says:

    I stopped making New Year’s resolutions some years back. I make lists of things to do all the time because I misplace the previous list. (Maybe sub-consciously on purpose – you think?) :o) I like your idea of celebrating accomplishments, maybe write them on the calendar. I think I will implement this w/my grandchildren. Maybe it will be an encouragement to them and we can all use encouragement! :o) Thank you! Rhonda – Prosser, WA

    Great idea about putting our accomplishments right on our calendar, Rhonda! 

                                                      -Nicole

  7. Bonnie Russell says:

    I can relate with what you have said about the sabatoge of resolving to lose weight at the beginning of the year, only to find you have gained at the end. The PROCESS of taking better care of yourself is a much better way of tackling the issue and probably accomplishing the same goal without stressing about time constraints. I find it difficult to give up sugar and baked goods. But by making them myself instead of buying off the shelf, I know I’m making healthier choices in the ingredients I use. I might find it difficult to give up candy, but I choose dark chocolate over one heavily laden with high fructose corn syrup. I might find it difficult to drag myself out of bed early and brave the chill of winter air for that morning walk, but I might flick on demand exercise and get my cardio in front of the TV or time myself vacuuming the floor.
    I’ve been making doctor and dental appointments that I’ve been putting off.
    I’ve been forced to slow down when I was laid off last year, something that was needed but I wasn’t initially admitting that to myself. Now I’m honoring the fact I have the time to do all those things I had set aside that give me a sense of accomplishment, joy and satisfaction. Hey, I might even finish that crochetted tablecloth, de-clutter the corners, closets, studio and garage and claim back living space (things that I began to do last year.)
    Now my husband is wishing he could "retire" too, and who knows? I may become that country girl I’ve always pictured myself being, since we’re considering a move to "Mayberry", Kansas! Looking toward the possibility of moving after 32 years of accumulation may necessitate setting aside my goal to begin painting again, but it has given me the incentive I needed to get serious about letting go of those things that no longer serve us and re-claiming living space and a sense of serenity. Looking forward to the next chapter of a slower-paced environment sure appeals to us right now…here’s to 2011!

  8. Goddess in the Groove says:

    This year, I purposely did NOT make any resolutions. I made a priority list, and they are all things that will improve my life. As I integrate them into my life, I go to the next priority. While I do this, I am clearing, giving away things, repurposing things that have been hidden under the clutter :).

    Heike
    FarmChick #2245

  9. Brigitte Farmgirl with a heart says:

    It’s so funny! Here I am sitting in front of my computer (I give myself an hour of Web…kind of a little reward during my working day, since I’m home alone!), and about to comment…And there it is! All I wish to share…Farm Chick #2245 (Heike!), just did it before I could! What’s more funny is that ‘girls will be girls’! I’m from Canada and my spiritual twin came from the USA! Like her, I decide this year will be different! No more sens of failure…I’m always telling peoples how positive I am…So no more ‘obligations’…As I grow older, I try to let go things that doesn’t make me happy… I use to be a big shopper… But, as I’m trying to regain a light home, and try to give up stuff that I never use, WHY buy new useless things… Well, I think I’m on the right way… Not totally cured, but it’s not as hard to say NO to myself…What I now do when I received my SEARS Catalog; I make a ‘wish list’ with all I would buy if I win the lotto…And than, I just put it into the fire…Sound stupid…But it helps me a lot! So I leave you on that!

  10. Jennifer Taylor says:

    I have been really enjoying your posts and look forward each week. This one just really hit the nail on the head for me(especially the chocolate in the stocking)! I don’t know if it is the fact I turned 40 this year or if with age I am slowly the wiser, but slowing down, taking it all in, finding joy in the smallest of things and being proud of what I can do or get done have become the staple of my sanity in this fast paced world. That being said, my New Years resolution was to not make anymore, ever! I feel so liberated! As I and my family have pretty much given up TV over the last year, I do not have the weight watchers, 24hr fitness, or home depot commercials haunting me. As each year passes, the next goes by faster than the one before. I am in the snow globe of life and just when it slows down and starts to settle, there is always someone or something ready to shake it up! I’ve just decided to slow down and go for the ride and make the most of the little things along the way!
    Oh, and I almost forgot, My 4yr old wrote his entire name on his own and brought it to me for a present! I home school so that was a big accomplishment for the both of us!!

    Jennifer, how sweet a present was that!  Enjoy every minute with your little one, it sure goes by fast.

                      -Nicole

  11. Ali says:

    Wonderful post, Nicole. I feel the same way. Sometimes we unintentionally complicate our lives. So this year, no resolutions per se for me – I have my list of things I would like to accomplish this year and if I don’t get to do everything, I’m not going to fret over it. I’m going to definitely slow down and simplify and cherish all the things, large and small, that bring happiness into my life.
    Ali
    Farmgirl #12

  12. Jeannie says:

    Good post about resolutions Nicole. I don’t do resolutions anymore either. I choose a word for the year( per Ali Edwards) and let that be a guide, inspiration, etc for the year. I do have my list of things I want to pursue but have long ago given up any guilt if I don’t get to them all.
    Love your posts and look forward to them.
    Happy New Year all.

    -Thanks, so much, Jeannie!

  13. Rose says:

    Nicole,
    Thanks for the reminder to slow done and take a look around at what one has done and what one has in life. We are sometimes so busy "doing" that we don’t just take a moment to just "be".

  14. Sue Taylor says:

    Hi Nicole! I’m finally getting to look at the blog! Nice work!
    I couldn’t agree more. I have had 3 or 4 year run of small ups and major downs. I have had many, many health problems and
    problem kids and the only way to hang on to my sanity some times was to give myself a break, figuratively and physically.
    Some days you just cannot see the greater purpose in being here… until you slow down and let it find you.
    My only resolution for the last two years has been to slow down and not let society or social pressures make me feel
    inadequate any more. That sounds easy, but it’s really not…at first. It’s much easier now! I’ve got the hang of it! I’m so glad to see so many sisters here also getting the hang of it. Now I don’t feel like No body understands my methods. Thanks for the post, rock on and take it easy! Sue

  15. Mary Ann says:

    I love your new years resolution to slow down,appreciate, and celebrate your accomplishments. I’ve gone part time this year at my job, and my goal (I need to write this down) is to slow down, declutter & organize my home, become a volunteer and teach myself to appreciate the small stuff! Thanks for the reminder!

  16. gloria says:

    Hello Farmgirl,
    This is my first time to discover your blog, I can so identify with your posts, 2010 was a year of lots of changes for me as well, a very emotional year, today I am living in Waianae ( Y N I) Hawaii on a winter break from the cold and snow. but what has started to be just a winter break of five months and now possibly longer, I can bloom where I’m planted and am learning to reach out to those around me. I miss my fur persons and the sacrifice of leaving them behind for the winter, not knowing if I will ever get them back. To let go of things at our home and be happy in a small apartment just to be together with my sweetheart of 30 years, wow 2011 will already be half over by the time I figure out what this year is going to look like. I guess I’m learning to LOVE LIVING IN THE MOMENT. 

    -Sounds like this new year is quite a new adventure and journey for you! Hope it all works out good.  Thanks for reading and sharing.  Farmgirl Hugs! -Nicole

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