Thursday, January 2, 2014

My 2014 Intentions - what are yours? By Hilary

Happy New Year! Today I'm sharing a few resolutions I've made to ensure 2014 is my best year yet. I'd love to hear from you, too, about your plans to make it great.
During the past couple of days, I've seen so many "good riddance to 2013" posts on social media outlets. Our family, too, experienced a few tribulations this past year, but nothing that would cause me to classify it as a crappy year!
Still, I'm looking forward to a new year and new opportunities to create memories and make my life exactly what I want it to be.
Without further ado:
1. Be present. No matter what you're choosing to do, be there. Be present. Yes, that means that if your sons ask you to help them build a tunnel from our house to grandma's house, and they've spent hours on it and it's still only a few inches deep, get out there, stop looking at Facebook on your phone, and help them dig. If you're at spin class, don't be thinking about the client that thought your reference to squeezing blood from a turnip was "Southern talk" and wants it removed. Be in spin class. Spin. Sweat. Sing along to the songs. Be present.

2. Practice gratitude. Notice I said "practice" it. Don't just think about what you're grateful for; write it down, spend more time around it, and make it a bigger part of your life. Keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily to remind yourself of all that you have. I know it's hard to be grateful for your kids when they're arguing nonstop, tattling on each other for breathing too loudly or hogging the special couch cushion or picking candy off the gingerbread house and eating it. I know it's easy to forget how grateful you are that your husband will cook dinner (well and often) when he gets bacon grease on your clean stovetop and leaves the can opener on the kitchen counter. Practicing gratitude is just that - practice. And science shows gratitude makes you happier and healthier (Really! Google it). So hop to it.
3. Do new things. Do new things more than once. After my first spin class, my crotch was so sore I could barely walk for a week! But now I love spin class and go several times each week. Just like they say you should always take at least 2 sips of wine before deciding whether you like it - you should try every new thing at least twice. Be adventurous! Take the kids for a hike on a new trail, try a new recipe, sign up for a class. Look, there are some things even I won't try - so I'm not saying you have to do EVERYTHING. Just get outside of your comfort zone once in a while. How else will you discover that hidden jewel you really love?!
This is Hazel, trying a carrot. She tried more than one. She likes them:

4. Practice kindness. I'm not just talking about your friends and family here, although this applies to them, too. Practice kindness in everything you do - you never know when someone needs it most. Here's an example: last summer, one of our dogs attacked our other dog (Hazel, the carrot-eater above, was the victim). This resulted in a $600 vet bill and the departure of our other dog, whom I held very dear. A few days later, my husband was holding hands with our daughter when she suddenly dropped down to the floor. On reflex, he held her tighter, trying to keep her from falling. Her arm twisted and the elbow came out of the socket. There was a loud popping noise, and she started crying. Then she stopped crying. She could move it, so we didn't think it was broken, but she was obviously still in pain. Loooong story short, my husband had to leave immediately for a work thing, and I decided to take her to the doctor. I called the doctor's office, and the guy who answers the phone was like "Well, you're going to have to take her to the ER." I wanted to go to the doctor's office first, because getting an X-ray through his referral as opposed to going straight to the ER is a difference of several hundred dollars! (Of course I'd take her to the ER if I thought she needed it, but it didn't seem like a break...) I said this to him, and he snottily said he'd ask the doctor on call. The doctor responded that he'd see us and we should bring her in right away. I needed that kindness SO badly that day - after the $600 vet bill especially! So what can YOU do to be kind? Pay someone a compliment. Offer to take a friend's kids for a few hours so she can get some errands or cleaning done. Smile at a stranger.
5. Eliminate clutter - physically and emotionally. You know that roll of wedding wrapping paper you've been holding onto since 2001 because you know you'll use it sometime? But now it's too wrinkled to actually wrap a present with? Toss it. You know those jeans you've been saving in the back of your closet, hoping they'll come back into style? They won't. Toss 'em. You know that skirt you love but don't have a shirt to wear with it - and you don't know what shirt would go with it anyway? Ditch it. You know that friend who drives you really crazy with the negativity but you keep getting suckered in? Say good-bye. This is YOUR life. You should have in it only the things you need and the people who make you happy. If it doesn't make you happy, make you money, or make you better, get rid of it.
6. Find something you truly enjoy, and do more of it. I don't care if it's bowling on the Nintendo Wii or taking hot yoga or going for long walks. Or having dance parties.

7. Remember, you create your own future. Decide what you want, and make a plan for getting it. Think it's impossible? It's not - there are undoubtedly people who have done the same things you want to, and who have started with way less than you have. Learn from their journeys and create your own. My mom would call this goal-setting. And don't stop at setting goals. Write them down, make them concrete and measurable, and create tangible steps for getting from where you are now to where you want to be.
At the end of this year, how will you feel? Will you be wishing 2014 good riddance?
I truly hope not - for each new year really is a new opportunity to build on last year's lessons so you can move closer and closer to your version of a great life. Don't doubt it for a minute - you deserve it.
I want to hear from you - what are some of your intentions for this year?

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