I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. If I decide I need to change something in my life, I'll try to change it, no matter what time of year it is.
But, with the hecticness and stress of Christmas behind me, and a quieter week at home and work, I do find that the end of the year and the beginning of the new one are well-suited for reflection.
Several years ago, Don and I attended a mini-retreat about how to have "the best year yet." While I found it a little overhyped, one useful recommendation I carried away from that day is to review the year that has passed – alone or with a friend or partner – and consider what worked and what didn't, what lessons can be learned.
I am starting to do that now for 2018. Ok then…
- Visiting friends around the country
- Traveling to well-appointed destinations
- Biking the MS150
- Starting dance classes for our older daughter; continuing swimming and rock climbing for the younger one.
My MS medicine, with its requisite infusions every six months, is tolerable with no noticeable side effects. It seems to be preventing progression so far.
What didn't work?
- Sending my daughter back to a middle school she didn't like
- Overscheduling myself and everyone else.
What have I learned?
- Don't be excessive with summer travel; staying in town for a few weeks will be OK.
- Connecting with others with MS is reassuring and empowering – I'm looking forward to more activities and involvement with the National MS Society this year.
- Prioritizing fun and family time leads to a happier life!
Perhaps the most important lesson of the year has been to leave room for the unexpected. My father-in-law spent many weeks of 2018 in the hospital. A dear friend's child became very ill, and my friend asked for my help. My daughter had to switch middle schools only two weeks after starting 8th grade. I can't plan or prepare for everything, and I need to be limber enough to shuffle schedules, prioritize, and jump in when I'm needed.
After rehashing the past year, I consider the year ahead. I try to think big (but be realistic) and set goals. Here are some of mine:
- Ride the MS150 again, this time with my mom.
- Learn about and experiment with vegan baking.
- Plan and execute a fun, enriching, and exciting summer for my kids.
- Read more books.
- Help my kids transition to new schools in the fall (one will start middle school and the other will begin high school).
Share some of your goals in the comments below. For extra help, check out this article by The Invisible Mentor and consider investing in a copy of Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzlerthis. Here's to a happy and healthy 2019!