Spring is warming up for her overture —the mountains are melting (for the second time), we’re busy sowing seeds in starter trays, puddle-jumping, ordering fences, composting, building garden containers . . . and yet, it hit me this week that my mental clock hasn’t moved forward an hour at all. In fact, I’m way, way back, my friends. My hands may be busy with the work of spring, but a part of me is still stuck in a January fog.
When my brain declares a filibuster like this, I’ve learned that there’s only one thing to be done: I must write it to rights.
That’s what today’s post is all about. As absurd as it sounds to publish a New Year’s post in MARCH, I have a few preliminary defenses to lay before the council prior to making my case.
1.) I missed January. Truly. Our New Year was so bat-poo crazy (read all about it here), I honestly didn’t have the opportunity to reflect on 2021 or commemorate the dropping of the ball. Heck, I didn’t even know the ball had dropped until a few days after the fact! (I blame our terrifying black ice experience on New Year’s Eve.)
The only ball that I got to experience dropping this January was mine . . . on my New Year’s resolutions.
This perhaps wouldn’t matter much to some, but I happen to LOVE making New Year’s resolutions. It’s been a tradition of mine since Middle School, and I look forward to it every year. And now that life for our family has settled down just a smidge, I would really like a second chance at setting my sights on 2022.
2.) There is a season for everything (even when it arrives late). Anytime should be a valid time to re-evaluate, set new goals, and resolve to seek out areas for self-improvement. Personal growth or dream-chasing should not be tethered to a particular month or season!
3.) March may be the perfect time to overhaul our New Year’s resolution tactics. Spring is, of course, the perfect time for new growth, but there is another reason why this time of year may be particularly well-suited for a redo on resolutions. Statistics show that the vast majority of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions within only a few months, with a whopping 64% (according to psychnewsdaily) not even reaching the one-month mark! If this is true, then a new approach to this whole doomed-to-failure January tradition is most certainly in order, with right now probably being the perfect time to start!
4.) Our world is going off the rails of a crazy train! If there was ever a time to “wise-up,” or buckle our belts of truth, it very well may be RIGHT NOW.
5.) Sharing is caring (or something stupid like that). Missing January may actually have been the best thing ever for my resolutions regimen because it has led me to envision an entirely new approach for the classically condemned, been there done that, tried-and-train-wrecked New Year’s custom. I’m really excited about this concept, and I’m anxious to share it with all of you in the event that it may inspire you like it has me!
So, if the council will permit me to proceed, I would like to present my concept case file for your review.
Introducing . . . New Year’s “READolutions!” ~2022 Edition~
Text is transformative, wouldn’t you agree? Sure, the pen is mightier than the sword, but this pales to the powerful truth that a SPOKEN WORD began the whole of creation! And it was the WRITTEN WORD, for Pete’s sake, that God divined as the medium with which to speak to us and through us; the means by which to prophesy the coming of His son and ultimately deliver us!
In other . . . words . . . “let there be light” is all there is to it, dear friends.
“Let there be light” in the literal sense —hurling fiery globes into the expanse to break the darkness— and “let there be light” in a spiritual sense as well —imparting to us knowledge, the wisdom to apply it, and even salvation for our souls.
Put that in your book and . . . light it? Ok, moving on.
Contrast this God-ordained language liturgy with the anthems of our self-empowerment, self-enlightenment era, such as “you are in control of your own destiny,” “find your own truth,” and even the kinder, gentler “what you think about, you bring about.” These statements (while perhaps not *entirely* bad) all focus on the power of self, as if all the wisdom we need is within . . . no reading required. Gulp. I shudder thinking about all us numbskulls relying wholly on our own wisdom and merit. Actually, that sounds about right when we look around us, doesn’t it? But I digress.
I do believe there to be some truth at least in that third statement: “what you think about you bring about.” But the truth here is not a fluffy, feel-good one at all. In fact, “bringing about what we think about” should often be more terrifying than it is empowering! After all, what do we flawed humans tend to think about most, anyways? “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure?” If only that were the case! Of course, our thoughts are often not so lovely, to say nothing of their being right, admirable, excellent, noble, praise-worthy, or pure.
It’s not enough to march to the mantra: “what you think about, you bring about” as if our discussions, entertainment choices, and resulting thought-life comprise a constant cornucopia of goodness and beauty!
Doing so is nothing short of singing out a self-defeating prophesy. I certainly don’t want to bring about what I watched on Seinfeld this week 😆 ! No, methinks our thinking warrants more thought, you think? That is, if we believe inner thoughts to indeed direct our behaviors, motivations, or perhaps even life-path.
So, when are our thoughts at their loveliest or most powerful? For me the answer is clear: when I am reading, writing, praying, or discussing with a friend about that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or worthy of praise. Moreover, my thoughts are at their loveliest, when the words that fill my head and heart are! Not rocket-science, I know, but truth is often most powerful in its simplicity. Now unfortunately, we don’t have complete control over the direction of all our dialogue with friends, family, or co-workers. We do, however, have incredible control over what we read, write, and pray about! (For today’s purposes, I’m only focusing on the first of these: what we READ.)
This realization led me to take the somewhat self-promoting affirmation “what you think about, you bring about” and amend it to: “WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO READ IS WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO SEED!”
Now, anyone who has ever planted anything knows that not all that we sow takes root and grows. This is real life after all. However, the best way to ensure a bountiful harvest is to faithfully plant good seeds in good soil, regularly watering, weeding, and fertilizing around your seedlings —trusting all the while that your work will be richly blessed.
So, here’s a crazy thought: what if we applied this concept to our New Year’s resolutions? What if, instead of putting pressure on the doomed-for-failure details, we simply chose areas in our life each year where we want to grow, and then set about sowing seeds with good reads?
What if we replaced our list of rigid resolutions with a deeply-rooted reading list aligned to the very same goals?
Let’s see what this transition might look like:
1.) “READolutions” capitalize on the positive side of “resolution.” By definition, a “resolution” is a firm decision to do or not to do something. In other words, there is both a positive and a negative way to approach resolve. Unfortunately, it seems to me that we often focus on punitive measures in life rather than positive or proactive ones. . . resolutions or otherwise.
Rather than resolving TO DO something; rather than setting our sights on a beautiful and worthy purpose, we brush right past New Year’s and skip straight on to Lent!
“No more staying up past midnight.”
“No more processed foods.”
But prohibition is neither positive nor proactive. Neither is it fun, inspiring, or empowering.
“READolutions,” on the other hand, don’t forbid . . . they fortify.
Rather than feeling restricted by our resolve, “READolutions” can liberate us to simply bloom where we plant ourselves —one topic, one book, one chapter at a time.
2.) “READolutions” warrant a little less talk and a lot more action! Resolutions are often reduced to vague commands. Eat healthy! Get trim! Get focused! Lose weight! The problem here is that these goals tap into weak, shallow, “I really should” soil. By themselves, these commands are incomplete; they lack a how, a why, a where, or a way. They lack roots. No connection or foothold equals no follow-through. Lose weight! Ok . . . now what?
Lacking depth and direction is a sure-fire way to buckle rather than buckle-down on one’s goals.
On the other hand, a carefully chosen book prescribed to a specific goal can provide either the inspiration, the know-how, or the necessary action-plan to bring about diligent growth in a given area of self-improvement. Often, it can provide all three.
3.) “READolutions” go deep and wide. I took three years of Spanish in High School, yet I really don’t speak it. Any foreign language teacher worth their . . . sal . . . can tell us why: my school did not exercise language immersion. Without truly being immersed in a foreign language, your brain cannot absorb enough of it to gain fluency. The same applies here. Resolutions usually involve the creating of new habits, or the crushing of existing ones. But habits are hard to change!
Think of your current habits as your first language. The only way for us to adopt, change, or replace a habit is through immersion . . . in this case, book immersion.
A post-it on a mirror that says “eat healthy” can in no way compare with a chapter a day’s worth of nutrition for the mind, body, and soul, outlining the ins and outs of a whole-foods diet.
In addition to all of this, I think specific goals can actually close us off or limit possibilities for growth. For example, “eat healthy” is not a destination. It cannot be checked off any list because eating healthy is an inexhaustible life-practice! We can always learn more about nutrition and continue working to feed ourselves and our loved ones increasingly nutrient-dense food. The same goes for virtually any area of study or self-improvement.
By continually immersing ourselves in books aligned with our core-values and (*hopefully*) God-given life goals, our shallow, rocky beds can, over time, transform into rich, fertile gardens bursting with bloom!
Who’s with me? Please tune in later this week to see my “READolutions” list and how I plan to BOOK-IT in 2022!
Thank you for reading!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~