I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions. Even though I’m very much a list maker, there’s something about New Year’s resolutions that seems artificial. A resolution is a goal on a list… and is eating healthier really a to-do list item? Losing weight? Working out? To me, it seems they are not.
Then I had an unexpected conversation with a friend at after school pickup that made me reconsider my approach to the New Year. “I don’t do resolutions,” she shared, “I do New Years evolutions.” This year, she only had one: Spend more time on yourself – and don’t feel guilty about it.
Changing the word “resolution” to “evolution” struck a chord with me. It wasn’t about resolving to do x, y and z better. Those are items on a to-do list. It was about deciding to evolve into a better version of yourself, or grow into a different perspective on life. An evolution is about changing your approach to life.
That was something I could get behind, and something I need to do if I’m totally honest.
So, I have decided on 3 evolutions for 2019:
Embrace a Growth Mindset in My Personal Life
In my professional life I take great care to have a “growth mindset,” but in my personal life I haven’t applied the same approach – and I should. What is a growth mindset?
When you have a “Growth Mindset,” you believe that you have the ability to change and grow over time. This is in contrast to a “Fixed Mindset” where you think your talents, skills, etc, are “fixed” and can’t be changed.
In some ways it easier to have a growth mindset with work. When you don’t know how to do something, you can usually find a workshop or online class and learn how to master the skill you’re after. For example, when I decided I wanted to design horse shirts with my son I had no idea how to do it. But I knew I could learn the skill and continually get better at it. That attitude of knowing I could do something if I worked at it made all the difference.
When it comes to my personal life though, I haven’t taken the same approach. For example, I have never been an athlete but I want to be more fit so that I can become a better horseback rider. And while I have been working out, I don’t approach it with the same intensity as I would learning a new work skill. I hold back because deep down I don’t believe I’m fitness material.
Our beliefs about our ability to change define who we will become. Judgement and self doubt are not invited to the party when our ultimate goal is becoming who we were meant to be.
So in 2019, I’m embracing a growth mindset in my personal life. Whether it’s with fitness, eating healthy, or becoming a better horseback rider, I can do this. (And so can you.)
Spend More Time on Myself (And Don’t Feel Guilty About It)
As a wife and mother it can be difficult to take time for myself and not feel guilty about it. If I work out while my family is home on the weekend, for example, I often feel guilty that I’m not spending time doing things with them. There are many things I would love to do – paint more often, cook the foods I like, go for long walks – but don’t because I feel like these activities are indulgences that make me unavailable for whatever needs my family has.
This approach isn’t healthy and I know this. There is a story I heard once that applies here:
If you are on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop down, you always put your mask on first – before helping anyone with you. This is because you have to take care of yourself or you won’t have the oxygen you need to help others.
In the same way, we need to take the time to nurture our passions, and to take care of our minds and bodies. If we don’t, we won’t have the reserves we need to care for the ones we love.
In 2019 I’m going to fill my proverbial tank by doing what I love, too. This means going for a ride on the weekends, working out when my family is home, and occasionally making something I’d love to eat for dinner (maybe they will like it!). It means taking the time I need to meditate every day – even if it means I’m totally unavailable for 10 minutes – because I know it makes me feel more centered.
And if I start to feel guilty I’ll remember the airplane story – not to mention the fact that I’ll be modeling for my son how important it is to take care of himself. I don’t want him to be an over worked, burned-out man when he grows up.
Seek Out More Adventure
Originally this section was titled “have more adventures,” but that seemed like a passive approach to me. “Have” implied that the adventures were something that would happen to me, and let’s face it – I work from home and it’s so easy to fall into the same old routine. No, if I want more adventure I’m going to have to seek it out.
I have no idea what adventure means for me, but maybe part of the journey is figuring that out.
To start, I signed up for a SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) training course for women, where we’ll learn how to survive in the wilderness should anything ever go wrong on a hike, family outing, etc. It is only a 1 day introductory course so I’m starting small, but the point is that this is pushing my boundaries. I have always wanted to learn wilderness survival skills. But time after time, when the opportunity presented itself, I found an excuse to back burner that desire. Deciding to take this class is me embracing a growth mindset (I can learn outdoor survival skills even though I don’t have much experience outdoors) and taking time for myself (the class takes place on a weekend so my guys will be on their own for the day).
I will post about the course after it takes place later this month!
It’s Never Too Late to Become Who You Might Have Been
At 38 it’s easy to say to myself, “Well, it’s too late now for me to become an equestrian / learn outdoor survival skills / insert aspiration here.” But if I believe that, the time it would have taken for me to learn and grow will pass anyways.
Yes I’m 38, but if I start now then I could be an amazing rider at 48! I could have an incredible outdoors skillset by then, or be an accomplished painter. The only thing that is certain is that if I don’t start now nothing will change.
What is Your New Year’s Evolution for 2019?
(Photo credits: Woman’s reflection by Nine Köpfer, balancing rocks by Bekir Dönmez, map by Julentto Photography.)