- Lose 10 lbs.
- Do 50 sit ups everyday
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Walk 2 miles a day
- Read 2 chapters in the Bible everyday
All of those were worthy resolutions, very specific goals. The problem was, I NEVER keep them. Maybe a week, or two, but then I would lose interest, make excuses, etc. and go about my normal routine. I would then make the same resolutions the following year and repeat the same process over and over.
Last year was the first time that a New Year’s resolution didn’t include losing weight or doing 100 jumping jacks followed by 100 sit ups, and what a relief! After giving up grains over two years ago, the problems I always had with food went away. My weight began to normalize, I didn’t want to eat all the time, I didn’t have to work so hard (or really at all) to lose or maintain weight… it was a wonderful!
Reflecting on this past year, so many BIG things happened in my life. For starters, the birth of my second son and the completion of my second cookbook, Comforting Eats. Both took blood, sweat and tears, but most good things in life require great effort and a some pain. These are pretty BIG accomplishments but so many things have been left to chance or have been neglected this past year. I am writing this post because I feel I am not the only one that this happens to. We get our minds set on a goal, and we either accomplish that one goal, and let the other things in life fall by the way side. We start out with good intentions and a laundry list of resolutions, set specific goals (lose 50 lbs.), make a list of specific things to do everyday… then follow those “rules” for about a week then abandoned them. When life gets busy or other things come up in life that seems more pressing, the entire list is forgotten for a whole year.
I plan on reconnecting with so many parts of my life that I personally feel need growth, and have been abandoned over this past year. I want to look back at the end of 2014 and see evidence of change and personal growth, and not get caught in the rut of staying at the same place year after year. As my friend Jason used to say, “a rut is nothing more than a grave with both ends kicked out.” What a great visualization of what a rut actually is!
I am thankful that losing weight is no longer at the top of my list for the past two years. I am a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight but there is more to life than focusing on those last few pounds. You may have many pounds to lose and it is important to set goals for weight loss, but sometimes it is more important to focus on the LARGER goals in life instead of the number on the scale.
Many people have called me Wonder Woman and I even purchased the apron to give me a little extra motivation. Unfortunate, being wonder woman has come at a huge cost, and I plan on re-paying these debts to myself, my family, friends and my God over this next year.
While these are my personal resolutions, I pray these give you some ideas or at least give you direction when setting goals for the New Year. Let 2014 be the year of Change, Change that YOU create, that YOU own.
1. Spend more time with my family.
Finishing two cookbooks, having two small children and working to grow my blog over the past two years has taken MANY hours, too many to count. If I wasn’t changing diapers or keeping my 2.5 year old out of trouble, every free moment has been consumed responding to emails, personal messages or answering recipe questions. I actually enjoy giving personal advise and encouragement, but this has come at a huge cost… not spending enough quality time with my family. For the New Year, I will continue to respond to emails, comment on posts, etc. but these things can wait a few hours while I play a game with my boys or take them to the park. I don’t want my boys to always see mama on the computer or on the phone. Work must still be done. Blog posts won’t write themselves or questions answered without me behind the computer, but I will find a better, more opportune time to do this, so I can spend more time with my family.
As mentioned earlier, no one can even wrap their mind around how overwhelming having two children, 22 months apart, and creating, testing, writing, taking pictures and editing two cookbooks has been. My friend Chris told me before Connor was born that having one child was nothing but after having your second, everything would change, and NOW you are a parent! That was the most truthful advise I received about having two kids… NO one else was brave enough to warn me or was just trying to be nice! HA! It has been the hardest job I have ever had. At one of my point in my life I was working three jobs, getting little sleep but nothing compares to being a mom and wife. I am always wishing there was more of me to go around. I think I have decided I need about five of me: One for each of the kids, one for my hubby, one for my family and friends and the other one to take the blog in the direction I would like it to go. BUT, at the end of the day, there is just one Melissa. There are only 24 hours in the day. That’s a fact and I need to stop daydreaming about there being five “Melissas” and start making the hours that I have count.
I also want to spend more time with my family and friends in Georgia. We only visit once a year and I want my boys to know who their family is. I need to make this more of a priority than I have in the past two years. I guess I will finally be getting Skype so that my family in Georgia can interact with the boys… I know my Aunt Ann will be happy! Even though my dad isn’t here to spend time with my boys, but I know he is in Heaven watching over us. I only have one family and I promise to spend more time with them in 2014.
2. Say less and do more.
This is a biggy. Typically when I hear someone complain about their problems, I always assume I have the answer. Honestly, when it comes to improving one’s health, I feel that I do have the keys, that if taken, could lead them down a better path. However, I am learning that it’s not about what I say, but more about what I can do. Instead of telling a friend or family member what I think they should eat (or not eat), how about inviting them over or lunch or asking them how can I help them. “Less talking, more doing” as my husband would say. I guess we all get stuck in this trap. We seem to think we have all the answers, but don’t use wisdom when it comes to actually listening and interacting with those we care about. Tough love is not always the best form to use. I want to be less “matter of fact” and have more of a “how can I help” attitude in 2104.
3. Choose a positive attitude
Let’s just face it… life gets stressful! One child ago, life was easier. One child to love unconditionally, one child to take care of and one child to take to the grocery store! lol Well, God saw it fit to bless us with another healthy boy. Again, I am grateful and I am blessed, but another baby to take care of has definitely add stress to my life. Sleepless nights, clingy babies and still a laundry list of things to do can make one weary. I am recognizing that I have allowed these stressors in my life to sometimes give me a bad attitude. There are some people who can just some how naturally bring out the “bad” attitude in me. Well, it’s not them bringing it out in me, but me CHOOSING to have a bad attitude. It’s hard even admitting this because it probably has nothing to even do with my stress level. This will probably be the hardest challenge for me. Getting over years of hurt is not always easy but you MUST do this… not only for yourself but for that person.
4. Turn off electronic devices more.
How many times have you sit down to eat and everyone has their phone in one hand and a fork in the other. This is such an easy trap to fall into, especially with the blog and ALWAYS having a list of things on my to-do list. I personally don’t feel like I can give up my smart phone completely, but I do want to put it down while I interacting with my kids or having a meal with my husband.
5. Compare myself to others… less.
This past year I have found myself constantly comparing myself to others. Comparing my appearance to other women, telling myself, “they must not have had two kids.” Or comparing my blog to other MEGA bloggers, and being envious of how many followers they have. Or comparing my cookbooks to those on the New York’s Best Sellers list (yeah, I have big dreams). What I am realizing is that I am Melissa, just Melissa, and this isn’t a bad thing. I have had two BEAUTIFUL boys and my body will never be the same and IT’S OK. I have a wonderful husband who loves me, really loves me, inside and out.
Also, I may not have 50,000 Likes on Facebook, but I am so grateful to those I have been able to help through my blog and two cookbooks. Even though I am not a professionally photographer and I have self published my cookbooks, I am still proud and amazed that they have been well received by people all over the world. This Southern’ Girl has fulfilled her life long dream of writing a cookbook. Not just one with tasty recipes but one that is changing lives…. SO much more than I ever dreamed!
6. Take offense… less.
Years ago my pastor shared a little nugget of wisdom that has stuck with me all these years: “Offense is a choice. You have to choose to be offended.” This statement by itself could fill volumes of books, but for me, I try to keep it simple. I have come to realize that not everyone is going to like me. Not everyone is going to like my recipes. Someone is going to leave a rude comment about a recipe or get ugly for no reason at all/ Yes, this has happened a few times. With age has come wisdom, and what would have offended me two years ago, I no longer allow it to.
Taking less offense spills over to every aspect of one’s life: Personal relationships, work relationships, etc. It seems that there are those that find the internet as “liberating” and feel that they can speak whatever is on their mind, not caring how hateful and hurtful their words can be. Their words can only be hurtful if I accept them as truth. Yes, we have freedom of speech, but some people’s “speech” is just cruel and mean…. but guess what?? I CHOOSE not to be offended! Yeah, it’s that easy! My dad tried to teach me this when I was in primary school. I was picked on for being overweight. His wisdom (to a 7 or 8-year-old) was to tell them “I would rather be a pork chop than a spare rib!” What he was really telling me was “Don’t let it bother you… Don’t be offended.”
7. Move more.
Over the past two years, especially the past year, I have been so sedentary. For those of you who do not know, I have a degree in Exercise Science and have been a personal trainer for over 12 years. I have also taught STOTT Pilates for nine years. Exercise makes me mentally and physically feel great. Movement, more importantly, movement with a properly aligned body, is SO important. I have sat behind the computer more this past year than I have in the past 10 years, and it has taken a toll on my body. I feel weak and I don’t like it. Not only do I not like it, I know that sitting and losing muscle strength is detrimental to my health. I know this but have put other goals before my goal just to be strong and functional.
The WONDERFUL thing about giving up grains is that I haven’t had to be a slave to the gym, running, doing a million sets of the Hundred (my favorite Pilates exercise EVER) to lose weight. I lost all of my weight without focusing on “how long do I have to run to burn that off” and that has been a relief. Now is time for me to gain my strength back and tone muscles that have become stagnant, not to lose weight. It is time to disciple in my life again. Moving my body will also improve my sleep and decrease my back pain which I have encountered over the past year from all of the sitting, birthing and breast-feeding, etc.. My goal is to get outside with the boys, start moving, start stretching, and exercising to restore my posture in 2014. I am pretty excited to get started!
8. Laugh More
It’s pretty simple: When life gets too serious, laugh!
9. Read More.
We should always be expanding our knowledge of the world around us. Information is always changing and sometimes the best source of information is in a good book. First on my list is Grain Brain. I have been meaning to follow-up Wheat Belly by reading this book but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I also want to re-read the great book by Dr. Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages. I have read it many times, at different phases of my life. I have yet to read it since becoming a wife and mother of two. It’s such a great book!
What books will you be reading in the New Year??
10. Pray more.
Even though this is last on my list, it is certainly not least. In my rush to get things done, many times I have neglected to pray. To pray for family, to pray for those in need and to pray for the strength and wisdom to get through life. God has shown me great favor, and I have been blessed to have been given my talents. I need to give him more of my time, just God and me. How is it that I can squeeze in watching an episode on Netflix or staying up late to finish a blog post but not give the one who has made it all possible just a little bit of my time. God has blessed me with a wonderful family, husband, children and friends; I want to thank him daily. These relationships were not random or haphazard but divine appointments, and I can see how God has had his hand on me my entire life. I am so humbled that he cared enough about a chubby little kid from Georgia to bless me with a wonderful husband and then saw it fit to bring life from my womb two of the cutest and smartest (I am biased) boys I have ever seen. Not only does God deserve part of my day, I want to give it to him.
Don’t let last years failures hold you back.
For those who have “promised” every January to turn a new leaf and never took the next step of following through… it’s ok. Don’t dwell on the past. It’s never too late until it’s too late. I don’t care if you are 20, 60 or 80, it’s NEVER to late to set new goals and dream new dreams.
I am looking forward to a new perspective in 2014, are you?? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?? Are you excited for change in the New Year??