New Year's Resolutions
I would like to begin this post by first stating a humble confession of mine. First off, I like to pridefully think that my blog is a unique outlet of nonacademic self expression, influenced only by my own thoughts. And while this is typically the case, I have to confess that recently found one exception. My one exception is blogger extravaganza Alyssa Martin. Alysssa is an incredible and witty writer who has inspired me with her simple, but yet relatable posts. And so after reading Alyssa’s most recent post dedicated to documenting her New Year's resolutions, I fell in love with her idea, and thought I would try to write a similar post. Despite the inevitable, namely that this post will be far less as articulate or original as hers, let’s begin.
As I sit cuddled up in my sweats, drinking my favorite peppermint tea by my Nonnie's fire, I cannot help but become overwhelmed with complete thankfulness for all God has given me this last year. 2015, although bumpy at times, has been a truly incredible year. Now the definition of the word incredible is entirely different for me now than it has been in years past. In the past I would have defined the word incredible as pain free, happy, and of course, used only to describe remarkable events. But after 2015 and all the lessons it has taught me, I have come to define the word incredible entirely differently. The word incredible no longer means pain free, but in fact quite the opposite. The word incredible now represents a state of growth. It represents finding hope and satisfaction in often difficult and challenging duties, but duties that have nevertheless teach me how stay strong in the face of stress, and of course, cling to God. And finally, the word incredible has come to no longer describes one single amazing event in my life, but rather a series of ordinary events that I now have a new appreciation for. Because 2015 has been often very challenging for me, both emotionally and physically, it has forced me to learn to see the beauty in ordinary events in my life that remind me of just how blessed I really am. Now despite how incredible, (remember my definition of incredible) this year has been, here are a few of my major resolutions for next year:
1.) Read and dedicate more time in prayer and bible study. Although I have been able to have a pretty constant prayer life this past year, especially since I have been in desperate need of God’s strength to take on the duties I did, my dedication to studying and applying the scriptures has been pathetic. This is difficult for me to admit, but I know that the only way I can improve is to first admit that what I have defined as adequate scripture study for my relationship with God is certainly not. Each year comes with its own challenging situations and while I am excited for 2016, I am equally as confident that it will be filled with many difficult decisions that I cannot make without first fine tuning and strengthening my relationship with God.
2.) Learn how to handle stress better. Even though I frequently put myself in challenging situations and have come to love the thrill of the chase so to speak, at the end of the day if you ask anyone around me they will tell you that I handle stress horribly. In the face of a lot of stress, I become ungracious, self-centered and entirely too independent. I am not proud of who I become under stress, and for this reason I want to challenge myself over the next year to learn how to be gracious, present and willing to reach out for outside help, even in the face of my most stressful times. So put your big girl pants on 2016 Allie, you are going to learn how to humbling acknowledge your harmful tendencies during stressful times and challenge those same tendencies head on. This may require a lot of Diet Coke and prayer future Allie girl, but I have faith in you.
3.) Take care of my body. I often joke that I have the body of an 80 year old, but unfortunately the reason why I joke about how remarkably similar my health and lifestyle is to an 80 year old is because in the words of the world's funniest man alive Joe Balarie, "I laugh because if I don't I'll cry." This year I want to learn how to accept that God gave me a unique body. A body that perhaps requires more attention and care than other college students, but that is nevertheless a gift and blessing from God. This year my goal is to learn how to embrace my weaknesses. Rather than trying to appear normal, or fool myself into believing that I have a limitless and strong body, I want to become a better steward of my body. I want to sleep more by establishing a better sleeping schedule, frequently fuel my body with healthy nutrients, learn how to gently workout, drink more water, and of course, learn my limits.
4.) Learn to say no. Always saying yes is really just a pride issue for me. What always saying yes represents for me is an inability to accept that although at the moment an idea, event or occupation may seem exciting or challenging, saying yes is actually not in my best interest. Whether it be saying no to a relationship, more hours at work, a social engagement before a series of big tests, a chocolate donut or an all nighter when I am exhausted, this year I want to practice learning to become more in tune with my limits and applying those limits by saying no when necessary.
5.) Remember what matters. I regret admitting this with every ounce in my body, but the hard truth is that I often forget what really matters. I become so caught up in achieving my dreams, challenging myself or establishing my future that I consequently forget that what really matters to me at the end of the day. Despite knowing deep down to my bones that the things, people and relationships that matter the most to me cannot be bought, graded or awarded, I will be the first to humbling accept that I quickly become completely consume with future opportunities when they are presented in an alluring way.
6.) Get creative. Creativity is such a beautiful thing, but unfortunately creativity has never come naturally to me. But nevertheless this year I want to practice my photography, blogging and other skills in order to feel that I am leaving my mark and sharpening ALL the talents God has given me.
….This list could go on and on, but for now, this is it. Happy New Year everyone!