It’s that time of year again. Old resolutions have been dusted off. New ones have been developed. The first obstacles to our resolutions have been encountered and … conquered?
Item 1: resolutions for myself
I’ve done the usual, inordinately large amounts of 21 day plans that lasted 3 days. It’s so frustrating to feel clear on a goal or desire, find a good strategy to accomplish it, then face life, the X factor of unresolved resolutions. This year, I have some very simple ones. My holidays were filled with de-energizing behaviors in response to life, and so I’m on a recovery path. For the next 21 days, I’ll
- Drink a cup of bone broth
- Exercise for 10 mins
- Take my vitamins
(I’m at the stage where the list has to be short and the tasks quite simple)
Item 2: resolutions to help my kids
With this simple task in hand, I want to broaden my thinking to my children and their growth. 2016 was a challenging year on multiple levels for each child. Motivating movement, in the face of complex challenges, when the hidden ingredient keeping you stuck is internal (sensory, developmental, etc.) feels like a daunting task. My son, when his body allows him, describes his frustrating experiences with impulse control and his uncooperative muscles and limbs. It’s as if the frustration cause leaks away his energy to keep trying. Things go rapidly downhill from there. How do we help our kids when the challenges seem so overwhelming?
I’ve realized that in J’s struggle to organize his body movements, and in my desire to have healthier habits, we can fall prey to the same mental traps. We can believe that a moment of apparent failure somehow speaks to our ability to have success in the future. I’m only a few days in while writing this, but already, I’ve missed a several resolution tasks at least twice. The day after I’ve missed something on my list is always a vulnerable day. The temptation to miss it on the second day seems even stronger than on the first. It’s as if not doing something once isn’t really seen as it really is, an isolated moment. Instead of seeing the future full of other moments with potentially different choices, I feel the pull to resign myself to staying ‘here’. I wonder if J feels that too… and if it helps explain why challenging seasons get much worse before they get better. Maybe my kids also experience this challenge to their motivation, and simply stop trying.
The Zoom Lens
Although a quality resolution probably should come from a medium to long term view of life, guarding my energy and motivation seems to require the use of a zoom lens, plus a dose of forgetfulness. So, I’m going to organize myself around a clear, simple intention. Mine is healthy fluids, healthy movement. In the mornings, I’ll try to get in both healthy fluids and healthy movement. But, there’s life. So, I’ll give myself a break. Whenever I remember my clear intention, I will try to find some action that fulfills it (I just paused and had a sip of water). I will encourage myself to forget about the previous opportunities in the day that I didn’t take. I will resist re-hashing those moments when I chose not to lean into my resolutions. I will hyper-focus on this moment and with the future in mind, I will not obsess about what I haven’t done. This will be especially important for me on the day after missing items on my quick list. One moment at a time.
Model it. Share it. Repeat.
I don’t know exactly how to help my children walk this road. But I believe that kids notice more than we think, and they more know than they let on. And even when they can’t yet put it into practice. Even research backs this up. People learn to do things faster by being around others who are successfully learning/modeling the same thing. So, I’m adding to my New Year’s Resolutions: Model it. Share it. I will focus on the present, model it for my family, and explain it, along with my ups and downs, to my kids, regardless of diagnosis or disability. And, I’ll do it while wildly cheering them on to do the same (I have to get rid of accusatory, blaming mommy, and give encouraging, cheerleader mommy some more practice). This way, as a family, we’ll all walk the road, from ‘here’ to ‘there’.
Wishing you and amazing 2017, walking step by step, growing stronger every day!
Forgetting the things that are behind, I press on… (Phil. 3:13)