Everyone starts off the New Year with big resolutions, big goals, a long list of “changes to be made” and rarely does this enthusiasm last past two days…if even that. It is obvious people are hungry for change and life improvements. So, how do we change successfully? How do we make goals and truly reach them?
I used to make the long list and start out with a bang on New Year’s Day. By nightfall, I was back to my old self.
At almost 50 years of age, I’ve learned that self-change and lifestyle changes go deep. You must work on the mind, the personality and then work out from there to start rebuilding a new life. It takes hundreds of stops and starts, two steps forward and then three steps back, mistakes, falls and floundering. But you learn from all this and keep chugging forward. You seek out support and tools, community, buddies, books, vlogs and blogs to get help and teaching.
You take small steps and go level by level. You wouldn’t expect a kindergartener to skip to 8th grade, likewise, if you want a new life you start in Preschool and play with it, then go to Kindergarten, 1st grade and so on. Play is the most important tool for success. If you can suspend ego and judgment, if you can surrender to the processes and embrace the mistakes as great learning tools, if you can be creative and seek out lots of help and find like-minded people to surround yourself with…or a community, you will succeed.
My goals are just to go deeper into what we are already doing. I have a family now so most of my resolutions revolve around four people and three dogs. Even my weight loss goals have to accommodate feeding growing boys and a big man.
I set goals to improve all our lives.
So what sort of goals does a middle-aged lady with two little boys and a husband set? Well, I’m the one holding the purse strings and managing our household funds. I’m also the cook and dietician of the family and responsible for our vibrant health and well being.
We are mostly plant-based these days. The man and boys eat a little fish, chicken, eggs, and even goat milk now and then, but I’m pretty devoted at this point and mastering the craft of faux meats and making plant milks. But I’ve been at it for over a year with a stretch where we fell off the plant wagon and went back to consuming animals and their by products for a stretch.
We are a frugal family, going by the code of “thrift as a viable lifestyle” as titled by Amy Dacyczyn and The Complete Tightwad Gazette is my money saving bible.
But you see, everything is a game to me. I thrive in my little goals and challenges. They are all ways to be creative, to use the imagination.
It helps to do a lot of preparation as well.
For example; I’m committing to removing sugar completely out of our diet. I cleared out the kitchen of sugar and items with sugar and restocked it well with “safe” foods. I also have already mastered cooking almost everything we eat from scratch. It seems to be the only way to avoid sugar these days as everything has sugar in the ingredients.
We are in escrow for a second home. We will rent this house and start a new life in the woods near our favorite villages. We will also have a larger mortgage and a huge responsibility as landlord and lady. This means I will have to be a wise steward of the funds. I will have to be like the woman in Proverbs 31. I have lands to manage now and must see to it that everything is paid and accounted for, that we keep building savings, and that we also continue having luxuries and a full life. We aren’t cheapskates..we are frugal to build wealth and thrive. Big difference.
I’ve started re-reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette from the beginning to reinspire. I spend my coffee breaks watching High Carb Hannah to learn healthy dishes and creating menus for the week filled with life giving foods free of chemicals and sugars. I live in the produce section of the grocery store. I write out budgets and cancel memberships to gyms and movie sites that won’t serve us anymore.
The other key is to replace everything you remove or give up. Give up sugar…replace with healthy faux sugars in your baking. Give up TV…take up tennis…or something fun. Give up any addiction and you need to fill up that void with a healthy, fun project such as art, aerobics, classes…
I’m also finding a new homeschool group that will better serve my sons and adding to their outdoor school classes. This is because media is being reduced greatly in our house. More music, more painting, and reading, more visits to the library, more nature.
Exercise, more of it. We are active but not nearly enough. So, more play dates in the forest, more walks in the neighborhood, more hours at parks, yoga classes off YouTube. All free. This fits in with the frugal plan.
None of this is new, just being committed to fully now. We have been on these paths of health and thrift for years and getting better each year. This year we fully commit because we are ready for that master program.
Happy New Year!!