I used to make a laundry list of New Year's resolutions. After keeping and reviewing my sheets of paper, I realized that all I was doing was listing what I wish I were accomplishing, and just rolling it over from year to year whenever it didn't happen the previous year. I didn't actually have any specific plan in place to bring my "resolutions" to fruitition. So I stopped making resolutions.
Recently I read about an alternative that piqued my interest. In lieu of specific things to check off a list, some people think of a term or phrase to help them guide their overall approach to the year. A theme, so to speak. Almost immediatly I knew 1) that I wanted to try this, and 2) that my theme for 2017 would be "self-improvement". This idea probably appeals to me in large part because of its minimalistic approach. The goal is not what follows; the goal is "self-improvement". It's a very subjective goal, but then, I'm only accountable to myself, so why not?
I have several areas of my life where I have specific action plans in mind to reach the overall goal of self-improvement.
In February, I hope to start meeting with a spiritual director. I'm waiting for February because a couple of women from my church are being certified in January, and I hope to start meeting with one of them.
Since August, I've been going to monthly Confession. Similar to broken resolutions, I've noticed that I tend to confess the same sins over and over again, which has helped me isolate some underlying problems that need to be addressed.
Daily prayer and Scripture reading. I was doing pretty well until my son was born. As could be expected, having a newborn and a preschooler has thrown me off my game. First thing in the morning was working well for me, but I'm squeezing in as much sleep as I can right now to help ward off postpartum depression and anxiety, which debilitated me for months after my daughter's birth. And when I get some alone time in the evenings, I'll be honest, I feel like I should use at least some of that time to pray, but I don't. So this is definitely an area in need of improvement for 2017.
We do pray together every bedtime as a family, and I've tried to pray the Guardian Angel prayer in the mornings with my daughter, and the Angelus at noon. So we'll want to solidify these practices.
On a positive note, though, when the PTSD-style thoughts creep into my mind, I immediately call on the name of Jesus to push the enemy away. And you know what? It works! So I suppose these count as spontaneous prayers, scattered throughout the day.
Retreat. I'm not sure I'll be able to swing an overnight weekend retreat this year, as Fernando will only be 9 months old for the women's retreat through my church, and a year old for the silent retreat through my alma mater, and I'm not sure what our nursing status will be by then. Though I am certainly hoping to not be nursing at night by then, but we'll see.
I've been slowly revamping my wardrobe. With minimalism as my guiding light, and keeping femininity and modesty at the forefront. The idea is to have only items that I love, that fit me, and that go with more than one other thing. My color scheme is neutral, so black, white, gray, brown, beige. I am on a mission to find some solid colored tunics, or mini-dresses that I'd wear as tops, as well as a couple more maxi skirts.
My skin routine seems to have to change as I no longer have oily skin but rather combination. So I'm in need of a new cleanser. I think for moisturizer I will stick with the shea butter I got for my daughter last year.
I do want to have a bit of makeup on hand for going out, as eye liner in particular makes me feel more confident and, well, pretty :) So I'll need to find something with natural ingredients.
I'm due for a new pair of glasses, and I think I'm done trying to get frames that are as inconspicuous as possible. I think I want to go bold for a change! All around red frames, maybe? This may end up less expensive as well, since I've been paying for the glass to be treated so as not to be as visible on the bottom, where I don't have a frame.
Exercise. I suppose this should be in a category of health, but I'm being real here. I want to lose the rest of my pregnancy weight and get my pre-pregnancy abs back, not because it'll mean I'm healthy, but because it'll make me feel confident and, well, pretty again ;)
Basically, I want to deal with my mommy issues with the help of a therapist so I can be a better mom to my kids.
But also, as mentioned above, I'm actively warding off postpartum depression and anxiety. I refuse to succumb to it again.
I think that covers what I think of when I'm thinking of self-improvement. So there it is, out there in the virtual world, hopefully to keep me accountable, so that this time next year, I can post about my successes :)