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Refinement – Not Resolutions: A New Year Mind-shift

Res * o *lu * tion –  noun – a firm decision to do or not to do something.

For starters, I’m giving a high five to all of you who make a New Years resolution, or six, and stick with it (them), long enough to make a drastic difference in your life. To all my fellow sisters who are now beating me to the Cybex trainer and kettlebells because you just joined my gym – another high five to you – I want you to succeed (though I do want my 30min on that Cybex trainer, so hurry up). To the mama who looks lost in the produce aisle because you usually are hiding in the snack aisle, another high five, you are doing your body and your family good. The new year is a great time for many to begin good habits, and say farewell to old ones. It is also a time, for many, to make lofty declarations regarding stringent resolutions that will be made, and will be (hopefully) kept.  Again – high five to you – because that’s just not me. I don’t do resolutions.

My type A personality doesn’t do well with resolutions. Note the definition above: a FIRM decision to DO or NOT to do something. Holy smokes that sounds so final and harsh and definitive. I found years ago that if I didn’t stick with the core ‘to do’ list in order to achieve my FIRM resolution(s) for the year, then I immediately became frustrated with myself and threw in the towel. I was an all or nothing with resolutions, and would consistently fail, hence my decision to trash them all together and look at it in a way that my brain would accept. Insert my “personal refinement” philosophy. 

There are a lot of things in my life that I am constantly refining, working on, changing. Exercise routines, eating habits, parenting, free time activities, how I act/think in situations, my self-talk, relationship with God, relationships with people, career goals, etc etc. It is difficult to narrow down what exactly a resolution would consist of, since I have simply been working on a variety of aspects of my life – for quite some time now (uh forever) – as many of us do. I found that looking at it from a refining standpoint has taken off the pressure, and made it a much more enjoyable and freeing experience. Now, don’t get me wrong, I get that some folks NEED strict resolutions in order to keep them. But, are you one of those folks who just can’t seem to keep that resolution? Grab a friend or coworker or family member for some accountability in order to help you succeed. Power in numbers, sister. Or, grab that accountability partner and focus on a refinement process vs a strict resolution together. Tag team and conquer. Trust me, you can be successful!

So…what is the key to adopting some personal refinement philosophies?

The main key is NOT to make definitive numbers and deadlines. Look at it as a process throughout the year. Again, this is NOT for everyone, but for some, this could be the answer. One of my refinements this past year was simply to read more. I LOVE to read. I own book after book and I have an Amazon cart with 14 books saved, as I watch the prices fluctuate before I buy or before I check them out at the library. All of those books in my bookcase? I NEVER read them. Well, until this past year. In years prior I would pressurize it by making a definitive, firm, resolution of “reading 1 book per month.” FAILURE. (Wo) man did I fail. Reading was a dread vs a pleasure. I would pick up a book because I knew I had to keep my resolution. GAH. Done. Change of mindset = I now just focus on reading. I am utilizing the library more, I have at least one book I am always in the midst of, and I keep it within reach/sight EVERYDAY. I have also made it a priority in my mind to choose reading over other stuff. It definitely takes a mind shift, which sometimes can be harder than adhering to a set rule of 1 book per month. I have actually read a few books this year. THIS. IS. HUGE.  You know what changed? The way I viewed reading.  Instead of perseverating on the fact I was to read one book per month, my focus was simply to read more books.

Keep in mind this philosophy can melt through many aspects of your life by simply changing the way you word your goals and areas you are looking to refine. A little wording change can take the pressure off.

For example:

  • Exercise – instead of defining a successful gym week by going to the gym 5 of 7 days – how about focusing on exercising 5 hours a week. This gives you more flexibility pending your ever-changing schedule, and allows you the flexible mind shift regarding the location of exercise. Just get your sweat on!
  • Healthy eating – instead of defining a healthy eating approach by focusing on what you will eliminate from your diet,  focus instead on what good things you will add (ie. Include 2 vegetables and 1 fruit into every meal). Ironically you will decrease the bad by increasing the good.

Have fun with it ladies. The new year IS for a new you – whatever that new you looks like. It may seem cliché that resolutions and refinement periods always seem to start with the echoing of “Old Lang Syne” in our ears, but alas grab a hold of whatever you want to better in your life and go for it.

Refining is an amazing process – grab it and go!

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3 Responses to Refinement – Not Resolutions: A New Year Mind-shift

  1. Suzanne Hines January 4, 2018 at 2:44 pm #

    This is so very helpful! I love the idea of goals instead of resolutions- I’m for sure a resolutions girl, but I am also prone to jumping off the bandwagon when February rolls around. Love your thoughts on this!

  2. Leslie
    Leslie January 8, 2018 at 3:21 pm #

    I love this! It’s so true… If I can just keep my eyes on the bigger picture and just imagine how free I might feel a year from now if I can stick to my goals, then hopefully I’ll turn these ideas into long-term lifestyle changes instead of a fleeting failure.

  3. malloryskidmore
    malloryskidmore January 9, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

    I so agree with you! Resolutions tend to just make me feel like a quitter/failure. I, too, am trying to shift my own mindset this year, and I love the ‘refining’ perspective! Thanks for the food for thought!