New Year, Same Me :: Choosing Intentions Over Resolutions

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Each year I feel a sense of urgency as New Year’s Eve approaches. I feel like I have to get all my ducks in a row before midnight, ensuring I start the new year fresh, organized, and renewed. Coming off the frazzle yet cozy peace of Christmas, it feels burdensome to do a complete overhaul of myself in the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It’s one more item tacked onto the never-ending to-do list.

This year, I found myself struggling to come up with resolutions or a word of intent for the new year. I finally realized why.

Shocking, I know, but I’ve finally hit the point in life where I actually like myself and who I am becoming. I feel like I’m finally on the right track. Isn’t it funny how we don’t hear people say “I like myself” enough, so that when we do hear it, it strikes us as strange?

Intentional Growth 

Throughout 2019, I made major mindset shifts such as:

  • rejuvenating my spiritual life
  • dialing in my fitness routines and nutrition choices
  • eliminating or cutting back on things that no longer serve me or my life
  • creating boundaries in some areas and breaking down walls in others
  • prioritizing my mental health
  • making a conscious effort to focus on others before myself
  • pouring into my development as a parent
  • actively loving harder as a wife
  • refining my confidence as a woman

There are absolutely more changes needed within myself and more growth I’d like to see. We’re always learning, growing, and refining — as we should be. I will never reach a point where I am finished working on myself until my journey here ends. This whole “living” thing is about constant evolution and growth.

Suffocation of Self-Overhaul

That being said, it can feel suffocating to force ourselves into these arbitrary societal deadlines. Spontaneously jumping into a new season or journey is a good kickstart only if you feel ready. Overhauling yourself without feeling a sense of readiness can lead to even more disappointment than you initially felt when making the goal.

If you want to enjoy your favorite comfort foods around the holidays, you should be able to do so without shame. You should partake without pressure to immediately undo the memories you’ve made. If you wake up on January 1st and immediately want to reset your eating habits, that’s cool, too! What’s important is your readiness and willingness to jump into new changes.

If you think about it, it’s pretty insane that we come off of the craziest time of year (doing everything for everyone), then immediately attempt to become the most organized we’ve been in a year.  

A Spirit of Readiness

It’s just not realistic, and honestly? It can diminish the work you’ve already put in and the good you have already done. Everyone is different, but I know that sometimes I can’t start a new goal until I’m ready. I have to endure more of the journey to learn what I’m meant to learn, ready myself for new ways of living, and become the woman I’m destined to be.

Often the end of the year and beginning of a new one brings a high amount of self-reflection on the past year. Instead of taking stock of failed accomplishments and forcing ourselves to change, we ought to be appreciative of the growth we did make. We should establish a heart of gratefulness for how far we’ve come. Only then can we continue to move forward.

January is not an eraser. It’s a refreshing blank slate, yes, but I want you to hear this: the “old you” is still a good you.

Give Yourself Credit

The “old you” survived and triumphed over things intended to break you. The “old you” is responsible for many milestones met and accomplishments made. The “old you” cultivated a life full of people who love you. The “old you” tried, rerouted, and tried again.

The “old you” did not fail. Every lesson you’ve learned and season you’ve endured has a purpose in your life. It has helped shape you into the YOU that you already are and aspire to be.

We can celebrate the progress we’ve made and the person we’ve become without needing a complete overhaul of ourselves. We also can make mental, emotional, and physical health changes whenever we want or need to without imposing societal deadlines on ourselves.

Whether you woke up on January 1st motivated to change abruptly, or whether you woke up on January 1st ready to embrace rest and reflect, I’m proud of you. If New Year’s Day is an effective starting over point for you, then get it, Mama! You’re killing it, and I’m so glad you have the reset button you need. You’re making those goals, working to hit them, and it’s admirable to see your commitment.

You Are Not Behind

If you’re one (like me) who needs a season of true peace over fast-paced hustle to begin the New Year, then rock on, Sister. You’re killing it, too.

You are not behind. You are right where you need to be. If you are content with who you are and start the year knowing you’ll continue to evolve throughout the year, then your discernment and strength is inspiring.

Whatever you need to do for yourself each January, or any time of year, your self-prioritization is crucial for your own sake. It’s also crucial for those who know and love you. If no one has told you yet: we need you around; we need you to be at peace with yourself. Your peace and contentment within yourself impacts everyone around you, and you radiate it, Mama. You radiate joy when you’re at peace with YOU.

YOU are a good you. The old, the new, the in-between, and the ever-evolving.     

 

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Audra Smith did not spend her childhood in Alabama, but got down here as fast as she could! Originally from Ohio, Audra met and married her husband (of nearly 6 years now), Brian, while in college, and they decided to move to Alabama on a whim a year after graduation, resulting in the best decision ever made. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies/Child Development. Audra spent the first few years after the move working for The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa within Early Childhood Education. After years of working in close proximity to Big Al, it’s safe to say now that she is a faithful Tide fan. Audra is an Army National Guard wife due to Brian’s military service and dedication to the great state of Alabama and our country. After enduring years of infertility, Audra and Brian were miraculously blessed with their daughter Nora Jo, who was born in March 2018 in the heart of Birmingham. Audra now resides in the Chelsea area (Sterrett) with her husband Brian, daughter Nora Jo, and living security system (lab/hound mix) Hamilton. When she’s not wrangling and chasing after a spunky toddler, Audra enjoys a good book, just about a million cups of coffee a day, embracing/celebrating the wild ride of postpartum, any DIY crafty project, and being on the water. She initially went to college for Vocal Music, and still enjoys music and singing very much as an outlet (even if she’s mostly singing “Baby Shark” these days.) Audra is passionate about raising awareness for Type 1 Diabetes, as she lives with this disease every day. Audra is currently a stay at home mom who makes it a priority to cultivate side projects related to her passions. She enjoys connecting with other mamas, women, and anyone who needs someone to talk to. Instagram has become a virtual tribe for her, and if you’d like to participate, head on over to @audrashoupesmith whenever you need a dose of “real life.”