2011 Resolutions

I’ve thought a lot about my 2011 New Year Resolutions. And keeping in my own special style, I’m a little late in coming up with the answers. Better late than never, right? I had a crazy long list of resolutions last year. I started with high ambitions and lots of motivation. And I did pretty well for a while. And then Ben was born. Josh and I were both amazed at how Ben moved right on in to our family. With our first two, transitioning to our new responsibilities was…well…let’s just say challenging. But with Ben, we hardly noticed a hiccup. But as I was reflecting on the last year and evaluating my success at my previous resolutions, I realized just how drastically my daily habits did change with his arrival. This year, I’m not quite up to the challenges I posed for myself last year, but I definitely want to stretch and grow, so here is what I came up with:

  1. I will compliment my sweet husband every day.
  2. I will get and stay fully hydrated. Hopefully, this will give me more energy and focus, as I know I’m technically dehydrated.
  3. I will go into the Church for a minimum of 10 minutes of prayer at least twice each week, aside from Sunday.
  4. I will make sure everyone in my household, myself included, goes to the dentist twice this year.

And there you have it. Nothing glitzy or bold. But, for me, each is a challenge that I believe will make me a better version of myself. Here’s to another glorious year of memories and challenges and growth!

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Updated New Year Resolutions

Because I’ve managed to grow a little bit this year, I feel it’s time to update my New Year Resolutions. To help hold myself accountable, I’m sharing these revisions here.

Daily resolution number 4 shall be appended as follows: I will embrace every opportunity I have to greet Josh, whether on the phone or in person, and do so warmly. (This means that even if I’m cleaning up an explosive dirty diaper, the pot on the stove is boiling over and Andy is pulling the cat’s tail, I will answer the phone cheerfully. I am always happy when Josh has an opportunity to take a break and call me, thus I will convey that with my voice upon answering. There is no need to drag him down with me. Besides, if I open the call with frustration, the call will likely be spent discussing that frustration. I’d much rather take a pleasant couple minute break from whatever reality may be at the moment.)

Daily resolution number 6 shall be stricken and replaced as follows. I will maintain an attitude of gratitude throughout the day. Despite the challenges I am facing in the present moment, I will be grateful for all God has given me. During particularly stressful or challenging moments, I will take time to stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving for all of my many blessings. (Starting out, I will count the goal as complete if I display my “attitude of gratitude” during any one difficult situation. As I get better at this, I will increase. My ultimate goal is to be able to maintain my “attitude of gratitude” throughout the day.)

Daily resolution number 7 shall also be stricken and replaced. It shall now read: I will read one additional chapter or the Bible or study verses relating to a specific topic of interest as indicated in the Catechism. (I’m making a wholehearted effort to learn more each day, and this is obviously a crucial step to accomplishing that goal. Perhaps one day you’ll even be able to refer to me as an apologist.)

As a final note, I’m please to report that daily resolution number 3, which initially I found the most daunting, has turned out to be one of the easiest and very enjoyable. I have never put so much effort into reading in my life, but I absolutely am thrilled with all that I have learned as a result. I’ve even created an additional page on my blog to note the particularly enjoyable/interesting books I’ve read this year. If memory serves me correctly, so far, only one book hasn’t made the cut.

I couldn’t be happier with my overall progress this year. It’s amazing how much power a tracked goal has. Like I’ve said before, tracking is the most important part of goal setting. It’s really easy to set goals, but sticking with them and eventually achieving them all comes down to the tracking. I don’t mean to imply that I successfully complete every goal every day. I definitely don’t yet. But I intend to before the end of the year. So far, I am very pleased with myself and believe I am definitely on the right track.

Digging Deeper with Allison LaMarr

Allison LaMarr is one of my favorite motivational speakers. She writes a weekly blog, Digging Deeper, and I have learned so much from her! Despite the fact that we’ve never met, she is one of my mentors and has made a huge impact on who I am as a person. I don’t intend to use my blog to just copy and paste other people’s thoughts and ideas, but in this instance, I couldn’t help myself! This is exactly what I was trying to accomplish with my New Year Resolutions and much more eloquently said. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do. If you click the link at the bottom, you can register to have her blog delivered to your inbox every Wednesday. It’s totally legit, no spam or anything. I seriously want to be just like Allison when I grow up!
January 6, 2010
2010: The Hero Within
Happy New Year, my friends!  I’d like to personally thank you for carving out a few moments to dig deeper with me each week. This is our chance to dig a little deeper into life on a weekly basis…to stop for just a few moments amidst all the hustle and bustle to take a deep breath and make sure that our perspective is clear, our priorities are in order, and our mindset is healthy.  Whether you are a working professional, a full-time parent, or an aspiring dreamer, the objective of our weekly discussions is to help empower you to wage war on mediocrity and achieve a life of daily excellence!

The launch of a brand new decade has no doubt caused us all to stop and consider the crazy phenomenon of the passage of time.  What were you doing a decade ago?  Where were you a decade ago?  Who were you a decade ago? A decade = 10 years = 120 months = 520 weeks = 3,650 days = 87,600 hours = 5,256,000 minutes = 315,360,000 seconds.  This New Year’s Eve as James and I sat on the couch in our pajamas watching Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest host the Times Square happenings, we couldn’t help but laugh at how different our celebration was 10 years ago.  Not three feet away on a bookshelf stood a framed picture to commemorate the moment.  I was a senior in college, we were 6 months from being married, and we were all dressed up in a roomful of friends, wearing party hats, dancing and singing along at the top of our lungs to Prince’s famous words, “Tonight We’re G onna Party Like It’s 1999”, with silver metallic numbers “2000” decorating the entire room. 10 years ago, the future was bright, the world was at our fingertips, and we didn’t have a care in the world.

Now, we’ve got a house payment, a toddler, and a closet full of clothes that used to fit.  Yes, we partied our way into 2000…and we yawned our way into 2010.  But the funny thing is, I wouldn’t go back and trade it for the world.  As I watched my son sleeping on the monitor and my husband “tweeting” his New Year wishes, there wasn’t a place I’d rather be.  If we could rewind and do things differently, I think we would all make different choices, based on the lessons we’ve learned.  I’ve made more stupid mistakes than I can count, and some of them cost me dearly – both financially and emotionally. Some of my mistakes hurt other people, and some of my mistakes I’m still paying for.  Of course, we can’t go back, but we can choose to move forward. We all have a clean slate before us, beginning in 2010.  What will you ch oose to write on yours?

This is so much bigger than the cliché of annual resolutions that are forgotten by Valentine’s Day.  It’s about a deep-seated desire to continually change and grow into our potential, into our purpose, into the person God created us to be.  The challenge, of course, is that becoming that person depends on our choices.  We must make the proactive choices that defy human nature.  Remember, human nature isn’t on our side. Human nature is lazy, apathetic, narcissistic, naïve, and always takes the path of least resistance.  Human nature’s inclination is to do as little as possible to get what we want. So, to combat and overcome those internal inclinations, we must be aware of and alert to the fact that living in response to our feelings and emotions will lead us straight to destruction.  I have rarely felt like getting off the couch or turning off the TV.  I have rarely felt like getting up at 5 AM or passing on chips and queso. I have rarely felt like lacing up my running shoes or making one more business call.  I have rarely felt like saying “no” to the stores and stores of beautiful clothes, shoes, and purses that call my name from the mall.

Gosh, when you stop and think about it, it would practically take a hero to make those kind of iron-strength choices every day.  But, guess what?  That’s exactly what you can be.  A practical hero.  An everyday hero.  A hero within.  Sound silly?  Of course it does! But wouldn’t you feel more inclined to make the right decisions if you were running around with a red cape and super powers?  So, throw on the cape – at least at home – and step into that power of potential that already lies within you.

Last week, James and I conducted our third Annual Review.  (For more details on conducting your own Annual Review, see the 12/24/08 edition of the Digging Deeper archives.)   There were two things about this particular session that stood out to me. First of all, heading into a brand new decade caused me to go back and analyze what I want to change from the past one.  Of the past 10 years, if I had to give a painfully honest assessment, I would say that I lived four of them proactively and six of them reactively.  The sad – and shocking – piece of that revelation to me was that I easily thought that at least two more of those reactive years were proactive while I was living them.  But, from a hindsight perspective, the results of those years speak for themselves.  It really is sho cking to see how blind we can be to our own naïveté and apathy.  And, the second thing of note that struck me during our Annual Review was the insight that tracking can provide.  Because we had now conducted this session for three years in a row, we were able to go back and document our performance against our plans in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  We were able to see patterns and trends of poor decisions along with wiser ones.  And we were able to learn from those patterns and trends as we head into 2010.

As we looked back at our past three years of documented goals and activity, it was rewarding to look at our progress and humbling to study our errors.   But, the thing that stands out to me most about the past decade is the wonder of Father Time. We’ve all ticked through the past 5.2 million minutes, and God willing, we’ll tick through at least that many more.  So, when this decade winds to an end, what story do you want yours to tell?  As those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years tick by, a few of them will be momentous and noteworthy.  But most of them will be humdrum and forgettable. And believe it or not, it’s those most forgettable days that define an everyday hero.  It’s the most humdrum hours that separate a victory from a loss.  Because in those un-notable moments, we either get swept away by the current of human nature – or we don’t.

The past decade may have been horrific, fabulous, or just so-so for you. You may desire a complete turnaround in this new season.  Or, perhaps you just want to keep building on your progress from the past. To create different results, we must approach our situation differently.  Whether you need a quantum leap or just incremental improvement, your future results depend on how you handle you.  How you handle yourself today, and how you handle yourself tomorrow, and the day after that. There’s no magic formula or magic pill.  The cape may give you confidence, but the hero is already there.  You hold the power of change, but you must turn the key daily to unleash that power.  Ignore the naysayers, and stop playing that broken record of past defeats and unkept promises to yourself in your head.  My prayer for all of us this year is Deuteronomy 33:25.  May God work such steadfastness of mind in you that “the bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days”.


Visit us on the web at www.allisonlamarronline.com

Just an Update

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Wow! I absolutely can not believe how much I’m learning about myself this year! Between my New Year Resolutions and the Love Dare, I feel like I’ve been given a whole new perspective on who I am and what I accomplish. This has been such a fascinating experience and we’re only 10 days into the new year!

The Love Dare has really been eye-opening. Had you asked me 5 days ago if I thought I was a good wife, I would have confidently told you that I was among the best. I really believed that. The Love Dare has shown me how much room I have to grow as a person, a wife, and an example of Christ’s love. I am much more selfish that I realized and I don’t give Josh nearly enough credit for how amazing he is. While I’ve decide to journal about my everyday Love Dare experiences privately, I have no problem sharing these general updates and lessons learned. I seriously considered sharing my whole experience, but I decided that was contradictory to the intimate nature of marriage. Not everything has to be a reality show, right?

As for my New Year Resolutions, I’m doing ok so far. I expected a learning curve and that’s exactly what I’ve gotten. Some days I complete all my daily resolutions, some days I don’t. I want all 7 of my daily resolutions to be solidly ingrained daily habits (hopefully long before) the end of the year.

I got a new calendar for the new year, one with weekly and monthly views. Each day in the weekly view I make a to do list of the 6 most important things I need to accomplish that day and track my resolutions in the upper left corner. Having the calendar has significantly increased my daily productivity. Most days I cross all six to do items off the list. If I don’t, I move them to the next day. I am so impressed with how much I get done each day using this system.

Aside from my house being cleaner than it has been in quite some time, finally being caught up on the ironing that’s been piling up since long before Christmas, and more time for engaging or educational activities for the boys, my new daily tracking system leaves me feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. It’s so gratifying to look at that list and see that I accomplished everything I set out to do that day. So, I’m basically getting a daily self-esteem boost in addition to a cleaner house and happier children. Happy New Year to me!

New Beginnings

sunny beginningsWhen I was younger, one of my favorite times of the year was back to school or the beginning of a new semester. I relished shopping for school supplies, often coordinating my pens and folders by color or theme, and the potential for success that lay before me. I made similar resolutions each time usually related to organization, time management, and procrastination (or more specifically, not procrastinating). I absolutely adore new beginnings of any kind. Naturally, celebrating New Years and making new year resolutions is something I really enjoy.

This year I put a lot of thought into what my resolution would be. I’m not really a fan of the generic goals like lose weight, get finances in order, get healthy, etc. All of those are great, but they basically predetermine your failure. They’re just too generic. There’s nothing measurable or concrete about them. Yet, I kept coming back to the same generic statement. I just want to be a better person. I’ve been hovering around this thought for a little over a year, but haven’t done much about it. Why? My guess would be because it’s too generic and I never formulated an action plan. So, to make my new year resolution, I decided to break down this concept of being a better person. If it goes well, perhaps I’ll continue expanding and elaborating on the same theme each year. For now, year one of becoming a better person, here’s what I’ve come up with.

I took a look at my life and picked out the major pieces that define who I am as a person. After all, how could I improve who I “am” if I don’t know who I am to begin with. I came up with these subheadings to “me”: spiritual, personal, wife, mother, entrepreneur, friend. I ultimately decided to sufficiently improve me, I would make a small, daily goal for each of these categories. In effect, instead of making one broad resolution, I’ve made several small daily resolutions.

  1. I will pray the Rosary each day. (This will probably require getting up a little earlier so I have the time to myself.)
  2. I will read the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month. For example, today is the second so I read chapter 2. Following my chapter I will play a round of “Bible Roulette” to allow the Lord to speak to me/learn a little more about the Bible.
  3. I will read at least one chapter of something I enjoy each day. (This one kind of stresses me out. I have no idea when I’m going to sit down and read for pleasure, plus I’m really bad about not taking time out for me, but I think this will be a much-needed daily “recharge” time for me.)
  4. I will greet Josh with a smile and a kiss and tell him I’m glad he’s home each day. (This sounds obvious but after several years of marriage and dealing with kids all day, Josh doesn’t usually get the welcome he deserves when he walks in the door.)
  5. I will spend individual quality time with each boy each day. (Research shows that just 15 minutes of quality one-on-one time with a child does wonders.)
  6. I will do one proactive activity for my business each day. (I’m not focusing so much on building new business right now, since the baby will be here before we know it. However, I definitely don’t want to lose all my momentum in the meantime, so this is what I’m starting with.)
  7. Each day, I will attempt to brighten one person’s day.

So those are my 7 daily goals. I got a new planner (the kind with both a monthly and a daily view) to help me track my goals. Each day, as I complete each goal, I will write the corresponding number in my planner. This will allow me to see which goals I’m struggling with and help me get back on the proverbial horse after I fall off. For me, tracking it the most important part of goal setting. It’s really easy to set goals, but sticking with them and eventually achieving them all comes down to the tracking. I think I’ll also report my progress here in my blog, since its important to have some accountability. It’s much to easy to make excuses to myself, but if I have to tell someone else what a slacker I’ve been, I’m much more likely to stay focused.

It takes 21 day to form a habit, so if I find I’ve accomplished (accomplished meaning successfully made it a true daily activity…like eating) one of these goals, I may replace it. I may also modify these goals as needed. My tracking sheets will speak for themselves.  But, for now, this is my plan to become a slightly better person this year.

Here’s to a great 2010!