It’s almost the new year. Time for change.
Change is hard. It takes a lot of effort and it requires you to move through that awkward period where you want to change, but you keep sliding back into old habits.
So with a new year dawning, there’s a natural desire to take stock and make some changes, by crackie! And then you return to work and things get nuts again and (dun, dun, DUNNNNNN) reality sets in.
Here are some simple things I’ve done over the past year. They aren’t huge and won’t result in immediate massive changes. But they’ve helped me.
They’re free, so they’re worth exactly what you paid for them:
- Every day on Facebook, I post something I’m thankful for. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because some days, I’m not feeling super thankful. Typically on those days, I go through the motions. I’m just thankful I’m here. I’m thankful for coffee. I’m thankful that there are only two work days left. That’s okay. In this case, the effort matters, not the result. I number them–not to show how awesomely grateful I am, but because it re-enforces, even on crappy days, how many things I’m thankful for. For 2017, I’m considering creating a blog post and just adding to it every day so I don’t have to wade through my Facebook feed to see the entire list.
- When something really good happens, I put it on a piece of paper, date it, and put it in a jar. A lot of people do this, with the goal of reading all the good things on New Years Eve. I think I’m going to wait until the jar is full, though. This is an area I need to pay attention to more. I can go weeks without remembering to put paper in the jar. My jar should be overflowing.
- When it’s a super crappy day, I put a dollar in a different jar. No date. No explanation. Just a dollar. When we did the Metropolitan Ministries thing, I took my dollars and bought a Publix gift card and donated it. In short, people ate because I had a crappy day. Takes the edge off a little.
- Step away. It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed and to just starting doing what people want so they go away. I’m prone to giving myself over to that and getting tunnel vision. When I’m thinking right, I step away–even if it’s just to run to the store at lunch. But when I step away, I need to be better at disconnecting. You aren’t stepping away if you’re answering email on your phone at the checkout.
- Recognizing that I’m not God. This isn’t as narcisistic as it sounds. God has infinite ability. I don’t. It’s not my job to change the laws of physics or turn back time. It’s my job to do what I can to help people with as much grace and dignity as I can. God didn’t put me here to fix problems on demand.
- Try to see myself with all my flaws, but through a fundamentally accepting lens. I’m prone to thinking and talking about myself like sports talk radio talks about the manager/coach of whatever team is currently struggling. Enough. Really. God isn’t Steve Duemig (or insert the name of your local sports talk gas bag here). The voice in my head shouldn’t be, either.
- Find what makes things work for me and do it. For me, it’s working out. It’s writing. And it’s taking time to not be what someone needs me to be at the moment.
Of the things listed here, as the numbers grew higher, I got less likely to succeed at them. In general, toward the end of the list, these are things I don’t do.
But, to use the words of the great Tony Horton these aren’t things I can’t do.
Happy New Year.