I weigh myself. Ugh. Add that to the list of resolutions. I stare into my messy closet. Ugh. Add that to the list of resolutions. I can count the number of vegetables in my house on two fingers. Ugh. Add that to the list of resolutions. And I keep going until my list is in the double digits and my energy is deflated. I start my new year off eating a donut and putting Christmas décor in my closet to put away later.
“A new year. A new start. A new you.” The predictable and tired advertisements come rolling in with the hanging of the new year’s calendar. I confess that for more years than I haven’t, I have fallen quickly in step with beating myself up by assessing all of my deficiencies and resolving to remedy them in the following 365 days. The cycle I described to start, I fell victim to year after year – until the year after my divorce.
Divorce, and I suspect most major life hardships, shine a spotlight directly on how you are living your life. Out of the darkness, vividly taking shape are your old habits, excuses, and beliefs. A significant life change jolts you into looking at how your “that’s how I have always done it” is serving you. I no longer had a spouse to blame for interfering with time such that I didn’t have time for that sewing class I always wanted to take. I didn’t have the excuse that exercise time wasn’t available to me once I was solo every other weekend.
On January 1, 2012, the first New Year’s Day that I showed up as a divorced mom, I had no energy to beat myself up. I had done plenty of that in 2011 during my divorce. My coach suggested a different strategy. What if I focused instead on what I had to celebrate from the year prior? Here is a segment of what I wrote that day:
Children that weathered a storm with ease and grace and smiles
Family that loved me no matter what
A job that I love and that supports me
People that have carried me this year: Mom, Susan, Genelle, Marcy, Christi
Traveling to Ireland this year with my Mom – the most special of memories
Standing up for myself and my happiness and the happiness of my children
Knowing myself better than before
Pets that provide me joy
Additions to family and sweet sweet baby smells and smiles
I remember the tears of gratitude dropping onto my laptop as I reflected on all that I had and was. I shifted my focus from feeling inadequate to feeling fueled for the year ahead. It isn’t too late on January 11th to shift your focus too.
Focus on what you have to celebrate like if your friend passed you tissue while you sat terrified in the lawyer’s office for a divorce consultation – celebrate the strong and meaningful friendships you have. If your child lashed out at a punishment and told you they want to be at their dad’s house – celebrate that your child expresses their feelings to you instead of bottling them up in a teenage abyss.
Resolutions help us live out our intentions. By celebrating your intentions already fulfilled, may you resolve to be inspired with confidence that you’ll have a lot more to celebrate in the year ahead.