Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simple Changes for the Year

SocialMoms (formerly Twittermoms) and Simply Orange Juice have teamed up to bring an inspirational new blogging program for the New Year.  They want me to take a pledge to make simple, positive changes in my life this year. At a time when New Year’s resolutions are waning, this is a great opportunity to revisit and rethink resolutions.

Sometimes, our resolutions are too vast and we struggle to reach them.  I can say that I want to be a better person, be more organized, be a better parent, be a better wife, lose a few pounds, volunteer more.  Those are all great goals, but getting there is tougher.  How do you measure being more organized?  Or being a better parent?  Would I even know if I reached my goal?  Probably not.
Instead, I have set small, simple, measurable goals for myself.  After all, I can always add more throughout the year!

I think that being a better person encompasses so much (including being more organized, a better parent and so on), so I am going to pledge this.  I am really motivated to be a better person by my sister (who is a wonderful person), some friends and Mother Teresa.  The past several years were a whirlwind for me with two little girls.  Now that they are older and I can have a moment to think, I realize my potential to be a better person is great.

Realistically, being a better person is probably a New Year’s resolution we could all incorporate into our lives.  So, how do we become a better person?  Here are my suggestions, which I plan to follow.

First, think about others.  When we think about others, we don’t have time to wallow in our own misery.  And, surprisingly, the rewards to our own lives can be great.  I am not just talking about family members and friends, but also the community at large.  Here are some tips for thinking about others.

·        Make a commitment to volunteer somewhere for an hour or two a month helping others.  I know we all have hectic schedules and if you find it hard to work it in on a regular schedule, try a nursing home.  They love having visitors and you could go in pretty much whenever you want.  Even stopping in to visit for 15 or 20 minutes on your lunch break can do so much.  Volunteering directly with people helps us to become more compassionate.  The more compassionate we are, the better person we become.  I plan on visiting a nursing home 1-2 times a month, as well as my continued volunteer work with St. Vincent de Paul.

·        Many times, we take our families for granted.  It just happens.  We get busy, tired, frustrated.  Make a point to schedule a time with your spouse and children every week or two to just do something special together.  Leave notes in lunches or send an email card reminding them that you care about them.  Leave a special note on their pillow reminding them how much you love and them and how special they are.  When we are focused on the positive, we leave the negative behind.  I love to stamp so making a small note will be a wonderful, simple treat for family members.

·        Keep a daily journal on what actions you did daily to make you a better person.  Did you praise your child?  Did you pray for others?  Did you exercise?  Did you take care of yourself (eat healthy, exercise)?  When you sit down and write this out, it will be a reminder of you the next day to try to do something positive.

·        Keep a daily prayer journal of people you know who need prayers.  This could be a friend, relative or other.  Don’t forget to list out people such as our leaders, military personnel, the poor, the hungry and the lonely.  Keeping a list (even if it is a mental one) and praying for them takes the focus off our problems.  Sometimes, when we look at others problems, we see how trivial ours are.  It gives us strength to move forward.  I have a wonderful prayer journal book that really helps me focus on priorities.

When trying to change behaviors in children, we often look to behavior charts/start charts.  Why not consider one for yourself?  Some suggested headings could be:
1.      Eat healthy
2.      Exercise
3.      Do something nice thing for someone
4.      Look for good in someone/compliment someone
5.      Spend 5 minutes really listening to my children
6.      Spend 5 minutes really listening to my spouse
7.      Pray for others
8.      Volunteer

Just like the sticker chore chart I use, I expect some tasks to be done daily (make bed) but others are just done weekly (take out trash).  As I don’t expect my children to do every task every day, neither should I expect myself to do every task every day.  I plan to use this more like a guide or goal for the week.

Best of luck for becoming a better person for the new year!

Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Simply Orange® blogging program. If I am one of the first 65 blogs received by SocialsMoms, I will receive a $25 Target gift card and a gift pack that includes a Simply Orange® cooler bag and logoed fleece.

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