The New Year: Joyfully on Time.
New Year’s Resolutions – lose weight, stop smoking, save money. Does anyone actually keep these resolutions? According to Forbes, less than 25% keep their resolutions after 30 days and only 8% actually accomplish them. These are not great odds.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not one for decorum, pomp and circumstance. But I do get moved in the spirit of looking forward to the New Year. It’s a great time to reset and reflect, and in looking forward to 2022, I took a minute to look back on the one time I actually made – and kept – a New Year’s Resolution.
Years ago, I was working full-time, had a couple of side hustles, a healthy social and dating life, and prioritized my health by working out regularly. All of this hustle and bustle made me feel good, like I was accomplishing something most every day, and often multiple days a day. It also made me late. Not very, very late, but late in an annoying if-I-just-didn’t-do-that-one-more-thing-I’d-been-on-time kind of late. And this was happening. A lot. My blood pressure would rise when I would look at the clock. I’d fly from one place to the next, aggravated at all the slow drivers and people who fully stopped at stop signs (the nerve!), and would run into my next destination frantic, apologizing, and often a little sweaty.
So I made the resolution to give myself the gift of extra time. It sounded so simple. I went to work putting my goal into action:
- At first, I tricked myself by setting my clocks ahead 5 minutes. It drives my now-husband crazy but it hustles me out the door when I need to!
- Then, I started putting appointments in my calendar 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. For a 10:20 appointment, I’d put the time of arrival at 10:00 and then get there with time to fill out that paperwork or pop open that audiobook I have saved on my phone.
- Finally, I tackled cutting things from the schedule – or if I couldn’t cut them completely, gave myself the permission to stop doing that one last thing I felt was so important and leave 5 minutes earlier.
The result? I’m now usually that person who shows up early to events and waits in the parking lot until it’s time to go in. Yes, with kids. Yes, with work. Yes, with life/accidents/things-came-up-things. And instead of feeling frantic and apologizing, I’m often calm and relaxed.
Instead of making a resolution this year that you will likely not keep, what are the things you can STOP doing that give you MORE? More time. More joy. More calm.
Here are a few of my new New Year’s Resolutions that I know will bring me more time and joy.
- Spend more time at the park. Sit on a bench, watch the ducks, listen to the cars passing by.
- Order take out from the local restaurant. All of them. These businesses need us.
- Listen to the music. Specifically, the Beatles. Is there anything in the world a Beatles song can’t fix?
- Stop and say hello to a neighbor – or stranger – in the park. Smile. Ask how their day is going.
- Pick up trash. You’ll have done a good deed for the day but played a huge part in keeping the neighborhood beautiful.
What are your things you can stop doing to find more time, space, and joy? Come on, let’s be a part of that 8%. You can do it. And I’m rooting for you with all the extra time I have on my hands now.