I have never been the sort of person to try making New Year’s resolutions. Even as a teenager I knew that I’d be quick to drop the resolution as soon as I felt like it wasn’t enjoyable or practical or working for me since, after all, I’d only said I was going to do the thing based on an arbitrary date that rolls around once every calendar year.

I do make resolutions, though. I just let them happen organically. I was thinking about this as January 1 was approaching and remembered that the last resolution I made was in August, shortly after I found out I was pregnant with our second baby. I resolved to reduce stress from my life by paying close attention to how activities, habits, and goals made me feel (both emotionally and physically) and to drop and add things accordingly. My last pregnancy was a very stressful time: we bought our first home, and I was TERRIFIED about having a baby and becoming a mother. I didn’t prepare for the birth very well. I focused my mental energies on learning about purchasing real estate and getting a good mortgage rather than learning about how to have a good birth. Consequently, my birth experience was pretty horrible, but our mortgage situation turned out rather well.

I decided I wanted to have a better birth experience this time around, so I knew I needed to scrap the things in my life that would distract me from pursuing that.

Resolving to reduce stress in order to focus on having a more positive birth and pregnancy experience has made decision-making about what to say yes and no to a LOT easier.

I dropped a hobby that was crushing my spirits.

I didn’t pursue new job opportunities even when they sounded like something I might really like.

I finally started getting rid of unused electronics and instruments that were adding to my mental clutter every time I looked at them. (Not to mention taking up valuable space!)

I took up yoga and a mindfulness practice.

I’ve been more deliberate about my commitments at church.

I’ve given myself permission to care a lot less about personal relationships that give me no joy.

I’ve said no to personal interactions and situations that I knew would cause me unwarranted stress.

As I’m beginning the new year, it’s been helpful to remember my last resolution (instead of creating a new one). My August resolve really has added a lot of peacefulness to my day-to-day experience, and I intend to keep practicing this resolve at least until the new baby is born. In this January, post-holiday lull it’s good to remember that I’m aiming for peace: filling up the extra time with new hobbies and other business is NOT the way to move forward right now.

There is a time for everything.

What was your last resolution?

(Photo by Andy Rogers © 2014)


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