Resolutions or Goals? by: Elizabeth Lewis
Resolutions, huh? Do you make them? Keep them? Maybe you think this year, “I’m going to do this!” I’ve said it and heard it a thousand times.
I learned from a great friend to instead of making resolutions… make GOALS. Yearly goals. If you don’t hit them all, you don’t beat yourself up but you at least try and have something in which to strive. You can make them personal, professional, spiritual, parental, etc. Here are some ideas we could all add to our lists…..
- Be more kind to everyone you come in contact. Sometimes this is harder than you think. When someone is mean to you, it’s hard to kill them with kindness…. But when you do, it makes you feel better. Maybe a goal of saying 1 kind thing to someone NEW each day would be a good goal?
- Love yourself more. Women are famous for talking about all the body parts we don’t like (bellies, butt, boobs, legs, hair). Men, too– (losing hair, weight gain, look older). If you don’t like a feature, do what you can to change it. Truly, no one cares what you look like, anyway…..they care more about #1.
- Look for more opportunities to serve. There are ALWAYS opportunities to serve, but how many of us seize them? If you’re not sure where to look, try asking at your church (I assume there are MANY ways to serve there). Help a neighbor, a widow in need, a single mom with repairs, or an elderly man with mowing his lawn, help serve the homeless (I know of a few groups that do this weekly. I can connect you!). Thousands of ways we can serve. Maybe make a goal of 1 service project a month. Make it a family affair. Children who observe their parents serving become servants. If you’re lonely, get out of the house and serve.
- Do a better job of making boundaries. This can be in a friendship, with a family member or in a dating relationship. Gain more respect for yourself by drawing the line where you feel most comfortable. If they, in turn, respect you, your boundary will be honored.
- Read more books. We don’t have a problem reading social media for an hour or more each day. But what about a book that can pour knowledge/ enjoyment into your head? Whether this is fiction or non-fiction….. Both are stimulating, helps with stress, improves vocabulary and keeps your mind sharp. (I’m proud of my college-age son who has a goal of reading 1 book a month- on top of 19 hrs in college and running a business). This will take discipline and organization.
- Smiles are contagious. Smile more! When you make eye contact with someone, smile and say hi. I bet they’ll smile and say hi back.
- Pay it Forward. You hear about the person who pays the bill for the car behind them in the McDonalds line. Do that! Or think of another creative idea. Find ways to help others, expecting nothing in return. It will make you feel SOOOO good.
- I bet we all could think of a goal related to our cell phones. What is it for you? Maybe not checking it during a meeting or on a date, don’t text and drive, no texting at the dinner table, no more “serious conversations” over text. The list goes on. While cell phones are important to have these days, if we let it, they can get us in trouble.
- One Line a Day- a gift I gave family this year was a book called, “One Line a Day.” At the end of each day, write down one interesting fact, motivational saying, Bible verse that spoke to you, a lesson learned or just something for which you’re grateful. A journal is sometimes too time-consuming so many don’t do that anymore. But we can always write 1 line a day, right? At the end of the year, you’ll have a snippet of your year and when you’re gone from this Earth, there might be some wisdom in there for your kids/ family??? Neat idea.
- Make a list of all the things important to you. Whatever is on that list, compare that to your calendar (and/or checkbook) and see if you’re actually DOING the things that you claim are important??? Sometimes we SAY family is important, or hanging with a certain friend, or going to church….but how often do you actually DO these? So reflect on what’s important to you and find more ways to do THOSE things.
There’s something neat about saying goodbye to one year and starting a new one. I hope this new year is the new beginning you need – make it a great year—on purpose!!
To find out more about life coaching and what I do, visit my website at http://www.loveandlaughterlifecoaching.com.
Loneliness Over the Holidays
By: Elizabeth Lewis
The holidays can sometimes be tough for many….. especially (but not only) singles. If divorced or widowed, it’s one less person for which to buy. One less person in the house (Thanksgiving or) Christmas morning. Less party invites from your “couple” friends. Some have to share kids on those special days and being without your precious children on a holiday, is just tough. So, for some, it’s a sad time. What to do??? Here are a few ideas of things to think about (some of which have helped me through the years).
- Acknowledge your unhappiness/ loneliness……. grieve………and we don’t all grieve the same way so don’t compare to how others grieve. Loneliness CAN be a gift (if you allow it) because it moves you closer to God (or your higher being). Embrace that. Let it grow. Reflect. Listen. Many times, Jesus went to a lonely place to be with God. In Hebrew the word for lonely can be translated as solitude or dessert. Each day try to step toward a happier place.
- Serve others – whether it be homeless, volunteering, making handmade gifts for family or friends…. Get out of your head and “poor me” or victim frame of mind.
- Organize your own friend gatherings to have something in which to look forward (go out to dinner, the movies, happy hour drinks, a party, shopping, etc).
- Read a new book- preferably one that will stretch your thinking/ understanding about yourself. One that will make you reflect. There are SO many great self-help books out there.
- Instead of judging those around you (whether it be friends you observe dating or picking apart the men you meet or go out with)…. Turn inward and find ways you can improve YOU. Look for patterns in behavior that you want to examine. Hire a life coach (to move forward), a dating consultant (if you’re ready to date) or a therapist (to work through past issues).
- Get rid of toxic friendships……Look at the friends in which you hang out. You’re the average of the 5 people you hang out with most. Are they making you a better person? Are you making them be a better person? Raise the bar and weed out the ones who don’t support you or bring you down………..Some friends just come for a season or a random reason. They don’t all last forever.
- Learn to be open to new ways of thinking about meeting new people. Maybe examine how you think about dating (lots of perspectives out there). Maybe try on-line dating. Take a dating class where you can find a new support group and perhaps challenge your thinking. (I support people with all of these things).
- Make GOALS for the New Year. Not resolutions, but, just a list of goals you’d like to accomplish/ tackle in the New Year. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit them all but it’s energizing to have new goals to achieve.
- Maybe start a small group at your church. A Bible study. A book talk group. A social coffee group. A prayer group? All of these are ways to reach out to others (who may be in your same place) to support and connect.
- You’ve heard this before (and it’s SO true) … live in daily gratitude. No matter how awful your circumstance, there is SO much to be thankful! Life itself, a home, clothes, living in a free country where we don’t dodge bullets daily (although I’m watching on TV about a shooting right now, so thankful NOW that I’m safe), having more than 1 pair of shoes, a full closet of clothes, heck—dry underwear. Read my blog about Gratitude to learn about gratitude rocks. (I’ll give you one, if you’d like).
- Exercise, dance, sing (even if you think you’re not good at these things). Just doing them helps release endorphins. I bet you’ll even catch yourself smiling. Maybe even laughing (even if it’s at yourself)!
- If you’re telling yourself a sad story…. “I don’t have anyone this holiday. Who will I kiss on NYE? I’m lonely. Nobody wants to have me be a 3rd I don’t get invited to all the big parties.” Change your story. You can have your story say anything you want it to say. You ARE ENOUGH and WORTHY of love. It’s just a lonely time right now and this, too, will pass. Walk through it with a positive attitude.
- Speaking of a positive attitude—every time you hear yourself complaining or being negative, recognize it and turn it into a positive statement. For example, “Look at that “in love” couple over there. Gross. Get a room.” Say, “How wonderful. I want that and love is on its way to find me.” It will make you feel better and put positivity out in the universe. Positive begets positive. Negative begets negative.
- Don’t get caught up in FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Looking at Facebook and other social media, you look at everyone else’s HAPPY life and think, “Oh poor me! Look how HAPPY THEY are.” You have to know that everyone is fighting his/her own struggles but they just don’t post sad and bad on Facebook. (and if they do, you’ll end up “hiding” their posts because no one likes to read someone else’s negative comments).
- Work on your budget, clean a closet, clean up clutter…. you’ll feel like you’re taking control of your finances and surroundings.
- Forgive and pray- think of those you need to forgive. Mend broken fences. Ask God for forgiveness of your past transgressions. Of course, praying will always sooth a lonely heart because when it seems like everyone else has abandoned you, GOD will NEVER leave you. If you don’t feel Him close to you or that maybe He’s not listening, perhaps it’s YOU who has moved? The closer you get to Him, the better you can hear.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Life! Count your Blessings. We are only all here for just a FEW more minutes in the BIG picture, right? Make today (and tomorrow) a great day…. on purpose.