Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy New Year! 2024

Inhale and exhale.

2023 was quite a ride, ...wasn't it? 

There was so much good and many sticky spots and learning experiences. The girls and I were going over our year last night and noticed how much our lives have changed in small ways but are basically the same in the bigger ways. It was a roller coaster year and we held on for the ride!

We're still enjoying homeschooling, getting too many books out of the library at once, buying masking tape and toothpicks in bulk (craft supplies!), and enjoying the occasional glimpse of wildlife before the dog figures out they're there. We're all a year older, we've all learned lots of new things, tried new things, found new stories, and made new friends. 

I'm not really one for setting New Year's Resolutions but I do love a fresh start and a clean slate. And you know I adore doing monthly challenges! A present, I'm partway through a massive multi-month decluttering challenge as well as a 100 day kettlebell swing challenge. I'm looking forward to sharing more about them soon. In December I also challenged myself to finish four books and enjoyed taking them out of my reading pile. Looking back on the year, it's obvious how many small repeated tasks added up to big accomplishments. 

One thing that's really been standing out for me lately is the power of stacking good habits. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg didn't make a bit shift in my thinking at the time, but has been slowly percolating over the years since I've read it. 

Our brains take as many shortcuts as possible and prefer familiar discomfort over the unfamiliar. The more that we can form helpful habits, the more we free our brain space for bigger and more important decisions. 

"...we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit" -Will Durant (often misattributed to Aristotle)

One challenge I've had is that I can do herculean effort over the short run but then have to recover.  While it can make a big difference, it ultimately it doesn't change who I am - I don't become the person who does those things out of habit.  Lately, rather than the type of BIG Push (and then burnout/be so glad it's over) I've been working on the types of quotidian actions I can add to my life that really add up to big changes over time. 

It's the difference between people who run a marathon and then never run again, and the people like my great uncle who ran regularly well into his eighties.

While each of us can feel spread a little too thin sometimes, there are small shifts that each of us can make that stack up over time and add up to big changes. We can sit down a little less, we can sometimes read a book instead of scrolling, we can choose to eat something green instead of something white. It can be easy to feel as though each of these actions doesn't make a difference, but perhaps together, they make all the difference in the world.

I was recently invited to join in a writing accountability group run by a dear mentor of mine and, after the initial self-doubt voices quieted down, I realized that yes, I can do this. I can add a little bit of writing every week. I can rejoin this space, I can dust off my writing, and I can keep showing up.

Cheers to new challenges, cheers to small steps adding up, and cheers to clean slates! 

What are you excited to work on in your everyday life? 

Comment below! 

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