For several years I have set time aside to come up with New Year's resolutions, but I've noticed that I'm much more successful and feel more fulfilled when I select an abstract ambition and then actively choose goals or make choices throughout the year that help me reach my "goal."
A somewhat silly example: a few years ago my focus was "self-respect" and one day I found myself at Walmart in need of buying some plastic cups. My auto-pilot frugal brain took me to the cheapest ones available which were, in my opinion, super dinky and ugly. In the same aisle, I saw some cups that were maaaaybe a dollar more but I thought they were so pretty (for plastic cups)!
I remember sighing and reaching out for the ugly cups when I stopped and reminded myself that this year I was trying to have some more self-respect. I went back and forth in my head for a truly embarrassing length of time and finally convinced myself to get the pretty cups.
SO ridiculous I know, but guess what. Every time I got a drink of water or sat down for dinner with those plastic cups, I beamed and happily reminded Brock how much I liked them. I know if I had gotten the ugly cups I just would have felt angry every time we used them.
And that was the year I learned that money can buy happiness.
Haha, just kidding!! What I actually learned that year was that there is real value in investing in myself and my mental health. Spending a couple extra dollars that day did next-to-nothing to our bank account but it did a LOT for my attitude every time I drank from those cups. I learned that having self-respect meant understanding how things, people, and situations impact my mental health and to make choices based on how I value things, not how others might value something. In the end, the pretty cups were a bargain, and purchasing the ugly cups would have been a total waste of money.
This year's abstract ambition
So what is my focus for 2023? [cue drum roll]
The focus I chose is to strengthen.
It's no secret that last year was a handful. And nothing changed on New Year's Eve. Our life is still a handful (though I must say that finally starting ERT relieves a huge weight off my heart and I haven't been spending nearly as much time on the phone or writing angry emails!!!). I noticed that for much of 2022 though, I kept saying something unhelpful in my head on the especially tiring, frustrating, long days:
"It's not always going to be this hard."
I had good intentions; I meant it to be encouraging reassurance. I pushed myself to keep sprinting, promising myself that sprints are just for short distances and soon, it just had to be soon, I'd be given the opportunity to take a break. I only realized in fall of last year that I had no business telling myself that.
The truth is I don't have total control over my circumstances, and I definitely can't promise myself with any level of certainty that life is someday going to be easier. Because... what if it's not? Then what? Then I get discouraged? Or bitter? Or feel I've been robbed of the comfortable lifestyle I always wanted for myself and just sit stagnant in the feeling of dissatisfaction? That sounds miserable.
Life is not meant to be comfortable. It's meant to help us change and evolve who we are for the better.
So rather than wasting time holding my breath and expecting that someday life will be easier, this year I want to focus on doing things that will strengthen my capacity to face whatever challenges (or if you're a die-hard optimist I guess you could call them "opportunities for growth") are coming down the pike.
I've thought about this for a bit (can you tell? haha) and have come up with 5 specific things where building extra strength could really help me, this year in particular. In 2023, I want to
Strengthen my faith
Strengthen my stamina
Strengthen my marriage
Strengthen our home as a happy refuge
Strengthen our campaign and the efforts we are making to save Damian and treat ASMD
So what's with the oranges?
I was introduced to dried orange wreaths and garlands as Christmas decorations, but they almost seem more appropriate to me as a January thing. Orange juice has always been my morning drink of choice. During college I always brought some with me to the testing center because I heard it was a brain booster. The smells and tastes and even the colors of citrus are incredibly energizing, so sprinkling it around the house seems like a happy way to kickstart the year (hey, and that's already one notch in my resolve to strengthen our home with happiness! woohoo!)
To kick start to 2023 - I'd LOVE your help!
As for our goal to strengthen our campaign, I would LOVE to hear your advice and ideas. One of our most frequently given suggestions is a fun run or virtual 5k or something and I'd love to make that happen! I definitely also want to do another 4th of July float! I'm already in the process of getting more items up in our online shop! And I'm hopeful that we'll soon reach the threshold of subscribers and hours-watched needed on our YouTube channel to start monetizing it!
What other ideas do you have? Let me know in a comment here or on social media! I am ALL EARS!!!
Thanks so much for kicking off the year with us! 2023 is going to be a GREAT YEAR!!!
If you want to make your own dried orange slices (for a garland, wreath, or even just to fill a glass jar for some beautiful texture on your shelf) click here to read the instructions I followed!