Why I Didn’t Make Resolutions (And What I’m Doing Instead)

It’s been an annual tradition of mine for as long as I can remember. When the new year arrives, I bring a list of new aspirations along with me. Things I want to achieve. To change. Do differently. Do better.

Until it just isn’t worth it for me anymore to put forth the effort. And I wait until the next year to start fresh.

Last year, I didn’t make resolutions – I set goals. Date specific and all kinds of stuff. I went through Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever program and it shed some light on some things and got me really excited to go out there and make 2016 different from all the years before it. And it was!

But not because I stuck to my guns, necessarily.

As 2016 drew to a close, a lot had changed. A lot I thought I was going to do, I ended up shutting down completely. The areas of life I thought I was going to grow, I felt a strong sense I needed to let them rest instead.

It didn’t go as I planned. But it wasn’t because I failed, or because I didn’t follow through on anything. It didn’t go as planned because I took a lot of steps in obedience, versus in my usual stubborn-heel-dragging.

The revelations of last year showed an entirely different path to take this year. In (super short) summary, I’m running two businesses now. One being my own independent contracting as a virtual assistant, and another I’ll be launching shortly, still very much involved in the virtual assistant world. I never thought I’d be my own boss – in TWO businesses! This is exciting!

In October, when Little Miss was home from school an entire week with a fever, I felt a nudge to pursue something I swore I would never pursue. (Sound familiar? Remember when I swore I would never live in North Dakota? January 1st marked 11 years since we moved here…) I wrestled and fought and argued, but now I’m all gung-ho for the upcoming year… Gah, do I even share it? Gulp. I think I’m going to homeschool Little Miss.

I winced a little just then. It’s a thing I never thought I’d do! Or be! Or whatever! And here we are, making plans for just that.

A third thing. Last year when we started going through the Little House On The Prairie books, I became obsessed inspired by simpler living. I taught myself to can, I started knitting like …, I don’t know, like what? What knits like crazy that isn’t a reference to a grandmother? Anyway – simpler living.

Also, I was made for the mountains. I’m not sure how familiar you are with the geography of North Dakota, specifically the Fargo area… but there are no mountains. None. Nada.

I adopted the #littleapartmentontheprairie to attempt to keep my sanity for having my family in an apartment that only sees east, and only whatever is above the garages. I almost forgot what a sunset was, I haven’t been able to see to the west for so long.

A recent tale for you. We made one of the quickest trips yet as a family home to Wyoming for Christmas. We basically were there for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, then headed back home. As we pulled away from my parents’ town, Little Miss was sobbing in her seat for how she would miss her cousins, auntie, uncle, and grandparents. I was choking back tears myself, but not because of our family. I was choking up because the mountains were getting further and further away. Again.

So the third thing. A move. A big one. We want to move. We feel like we’re supposed to move. We have an idea of where we’d like to move to. Now comes the big question: “But is it what we’re supposed to do?” And I’m reminded of sitting in Pastor Montey’s office, 12 years ago now, and him saying, “Trust God to lead you in the NEXT step, even if it isn’t the FINAL step.”

I’m trusting. And I’m stepping. Light-footed yet, but stepping all the same.

So I didn’t make resolutions this year. I’m not going to go on a diet or go to the gym or stop watching documentaries. I’m simply going to keep following the nudges.

Also (and this post is already longer than I imagined it would be), I’m going to move toward some super-radical, crazy, what-on-earth-is-she-thinking? type of lifestyle changes. Are you even ready for this?

  1. I want us to stop using/buying/depending on paper towels. No more. All cloth from now on. (As soon as we use up what we’ve got left, because one time at Costco, we bought paper towels and it took us ten years to go through them all…)
  2. I want us to stop using/depending on our microwave. (Right now I’m guessing my Mom just read that, rolled her eyes, and called my Dad in the room to tell him I’ve lost my mind.)
  3. I want to make whatever I can and buy less and less. Soaps. Detergents. Food (obviously). Clothes (one day. I know nothing about sewing.) Entertainment, even!
    1. This leads to another fun story. Today, hubs and I had a day-date. I, unbeknownst to him, declared Friday our date day until the end of time. Since we won’t always get a sitter for the night, we will have day-dates whenever possible. So long as the two of us can spend time together, it counts. Today we went to lunch (and the food was good but our waitress was amazing). In between bites, Hubs and I played a game where I named a band and he named the first song of theirs that came to mind. This is a game I stink at, but it was still a lot of fun. I even was able to name some songs (correctly) by singer/band when he turned the tables on me. We paid for lunch, but the game was totally free, and a lot of fun!

All that to say, I didn’t make resolutions this year. All I did was commit to following His ways instead of my own. And I can already tell this year is going to be way better than anything I could have set out to do myself.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

The Mastermind And The Pirate Queen

mastermind

It was an intense week. I took an early Wednesday morning flight to Dallas to meet my client and prepare for his weekend event. My client does many things – entrepreneurs are wired that way. One of the roles he has is to facilitate a mastermind group, and it so happens I’ve had the opportunity to be a member of this mastermind.

Wednesday and Thursday we prepped the materials and organized what we could before the doors opened for the mastermind event on Friday morning.

The two-day event was jam-packed with insight, counsel, epiphanies, and clarity moments. Exactly the purpose of a mastermind.

(Side note: If you’re not sure what a mastermind is, I’ll try to summarize: it’s a group of like-minded individuals coming together to spur one another on in business and life goals, to encourage one another to achieve the next and best levels of their business and their potential, and to hold one another accountable in the journey.) 

After my personal strategy session, where I unpacked the details of my latest business venture, one of the mastermind members turned to me and said, “I am SO excited for you!”

That moment, with someone sharing in my vision and goal, was pivotal for me.

Saturday evening we attended a college production of the musical “The Pirate Queen”. If you haven’t seen it, move it to the top of your list. A fantastic musical and a powerful plot. I won’t give it away, but I will say this: when I landed in Dallas, one of the first things my client said was, “I forgot you have a reddish tint to your hair.”

Because I am an Irish Pirate Queen.

Not really, but after I watched that musical, I was touched and moved in ways I can’t aptly explain. What I got from it, which I’m sure wasn’t even an intended message, was: God created them, male and female. Not better or worse than another, but male and female. The potential that lies within each is immeasurable. Don’t let your anatomy determine your mastery of life.

Sunday on the flight home, I was exhausted. I had hardly slept, and while I was an active member of the mastermind, I was also an assistant and co-facilitator, making sure we stayed on schedule, had what we needed, everyone was taken care of, etc. I was in the event double-time so to speak. I took an all-too-short snooze on the plane, and when I woke up, we still had half our trip remaining.

I’m not sure what it was, but at some point in my half-asleep stupor, I came to a realization. I wasn’t simply returning home from a work trip. I wasn’t simply finished helping a client pull off an event. I was a business owner, returning home with a plan and action steps to build my business going forward.

I sat up straighter. I smiled to myself.

Grace O’Malley led a nation of loyal men and women to defend their country and their traditions. Queen Elizabeth I led a nation and an empire without a king. Valerie Kleppen led a movement giving other women, mothers especially, the chance to pursue – and achieve – their dreams.

“I am SO excited for you!” said my fellow mastermind member. And I concur – I am so excited for me, too.