Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year, new resolutions

2012! The end of the world is near!!

...maybe not...but it is the end of the year at least. And you know what that means: it's resolution time!

Last year I decided to do monthly resolutions, rather than struggling through a big list for a few weeks only to inevitably give up on it all by the time February rolled around. I planned to keep it going this year, but couldn't seem to come up with my twelve goals. ...Pinterest to the rescue!! While perusing the site (Piper and I often tool around there while she's eating) I found an article about the special things happy people do that set them apart. And wouldn't you know it...they list twelve things. Perfect.

So while I already consider myself a pretty happy person in general, I figure it can't hurt to give these tactics a try. Each month I'll focus on a different "happy trait", and try to put it into practice. I mixed up the order a bit to line up with how I'd like my year to lay out...Here's the plan:

January: Increase flow experiences.
February: Practice acts of kindness.
March: Take care of my body.
April: Commit to my goals.
May: Nurture social relationships.
June: Cultivate optimism.
July: Avoid over-thinking and social comparison.
August: Learn to forgive.
September: Practice spirituality.
October: Develop strategies for coping.
November: Express gratitude.
December: Savor life’s joys.

First up- Increasing flow.
When I originally thought about what my resolutions might be, one that I came up with was "be present". This is pretty similar to the idea of flow. The author of the article describes it as being "completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing." This isn't always my strong suit. I find in productivity, so I often multitask, attempting to cram in more activities and accomplishments into less time. While this is sometimes harmless, (folding laundy while catching up on DVR'd shows, scrolling through facebook while I pump), sometimes my split focus makes me less effective or causes me to cheat myself (or others) out of a better experience. It reminds me of the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none." When I'm scattered all over the place, many things may get done, but fewer get done well. And even worse, this shallow & broad approach cheats me out of having full experiences, and fully giving myself (attention, time, effort...) to those around me.

In order to be as successful as possible, I want to break each resolution down into practical goals. So for January, here are some areas in which I know I could increase my flow:
  • Talking on the phone. Tagging on mindless tasks like putting clothes away, or folding diapers? Fine. But attempting to sneak in little jobs that require attention (even minimal) like sorting mail, or surfing the web? Nope. I want to focus being a better listener, and a better friend, and making my phone companion my first priority is an easy way to do it.
  • Driving (and riding). I adhere to the "no-texting while driving" rule as much as possible, but do take advantage of stop lights to send quick messages. It might not be technically dangerous, but I admit it's probably still not the best idea. And when I'm riding in the car, I could definitely be a more attentive passenger. No one likes to sit next to a lump glued to her iphone.
  • Hanging out with Piper. I must say this girl is pretty good at capturing (if not demanding) my full attention, but there are still times when I might shortchange her. It's tempting to give in to the internal pressure to get things done around the house, or succumb to the lure or TV, the web etc. (see my previous mention of checking Pinterest while feeding her). I'm certainly not neglecting her, but even allowing myself to dwell on the other things I should or could be doing, prevents me from being 100% focused on being in the moment with her. Some of my very favorite times over the last two months have been when Dustin and I stop everything we're doing, and just watch her. We'll "talk" back and forth, sing songs, poke her little belly, and exchange smiles...Sure, we could be doing something more productive, but in those moments I know we couldn't be doing anything more important.

So that's my goal for now...what about you? Comment away...or better yet- call me. I promise to listen!

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