Welcome, 2011! A new year always feels like a fresh start, and that's what I'm feeling in many ways lately. Mostly in my house. It's been pretty messy for months now, and we've spent the last week cleaning out. Do you feel like your brain works better in a clean house? I know mine does. (Not that my brain is firing on all cylinders now, but the clean house helps.) Here's where my improved brain function is taking me...
It was suggested in Relief Society that we set four goals this year, each to improve a relationship that is essential to our salvation: our relationships with God, our family, our fellow man, and ourselves. As I thought about it, I tried to think of the areas where I am lacking in each of those relationships, and found that going back to basics would probably have the most impact in my life right now (and, honestly, I'm not really up to any grand, elaborate plans this year!). Here are my goals for 2011:
1. In improving my relationship with God: Daily personal prayer. It's really sad that this is something that I have to work on, but there you are. I read recently a mother saying that as she pondered the words of the hymn, "Ere you left your room this morning/Did you think to pray?" she realized that she usually left her room in the morning at a dead run. This may not exactly be the case for me, as I usually wake up and nurse the baby, but I definitely empathize because as a mother you rarely wake to peace and quiet and time for prayer and reflection. So I'm sure this goal will require setting a new routine of some kind.
2. In improving my relationship with my family: Praying for and practicing calm and patience with my children, and sincerely repenting for my lapses. It's not really measurable to just say I'm going to be more patient, so I chose a specific action that I could be accountable for. And lest you think I am leaving Adam out in my quest to improve my family relationships (as I initially did), I have come to the decision that this may be the best gift I could give to him, as my lack of patience is probably one of his greatest frustrations as a husband and father.
3. In improving my relationship with my fellow man: Monthly visiting teaching. As a former Relief Society president, I am ashamed to own up to my sorry visiting teaching track record of the last two years. I know how important it is to truly befriend and be accountable for our sisters, and so although I had grandiose ideas for service projects aplenty, this seemed like a better first step in serving others.
4. In improving my relationship with myself: Keeping a daily gratitude journal. Looking back at the things that have improved my outlook on life the most in the last year, my infrequent gratitude journal is at the top of the list. Finding things to be positive about, even on the worst day, gives me perspective that all is not as bad as it feels in the moment. Surely by doing this daily, my negative attitude will at least diminish a little.
One thing that I will be doing to help improve myself this year will be here on the blog, and I'm bringing my sister, Anne, along for the ride. She recently borrowed a book my brother gave me last year, I Hate it When Exercise is the Answer: A Fitness Program for the Soul. As she was reading it, she suggested that it would be a great thing to blog about. So she and I are going to do each of the 31 exercises (one for each day of a month, but we'll be doing them weekly so as not to overwhelm ourselves) and I'll report our experiences here each week. Stay tuned to see how it goes!