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Change Makes New Year Even Sweeter

September 8, 2010

Tonight begins Rosh Hashanah, a time of reflection and renewal for Jews around the world. It is a time of connection, of bringing together family and friends. It is a time to think about our individual and collective places in the “order of things.” It is a time to take responsibility for the past and to look forward to what steps make this next year sweet with meaning, fun and fulfillment.

Here are some of the things I am committing to do:

1. More Family Outings
The operative word being “OUT.” I’m a master at arranging indoor, food-centered gatherings. We can fill a weekend quicker than an all-you-can-eat-buffet platter with brunch/lunch/dinner plans. We host. Friends host. We all go out. (Though never, I must say, to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Unless you count the occasional Mongolian barbecue. Yum.)

I love these opportunities to connect with other families — it might even be fair to say I live for them — so it’s not that I want to give them up. I just want to meet up more often under more, shall we say, “active” circumstances. And if it’s outdoors, all the better.

It doesn’t even have to be a big deal. This past Monday, with an extra weekend day to fill, we were looking for something to do between the morning housecleaning and the evening’s dinner plans. Though we live in a major city, we’re blessed with a woodsy, hikeable national park less than a mile away. We grabbed some water, drove over to the nature center and walked from there. It wasn’t a very long walk, but it went up and down and had lots of critters and trees to look at. I so enjoyed watching my boys bound down the trail. They’ve become so much more capable, so much more fun to do this kind of activity with. Our fall weekends are filling up fast with birthday parties, Sunday school and other organized activities, so I’ll have to make a concerted effort to make outdoor appreciation part of our routine.

2. Less Clutter
Must. manage. paper.

As is true in many households, we’re inundated with art projects (don’t you LOVE glitter?), a bajillion notes and fliers, and tons of junk mail.

I’ve been hanging bulletin boards and creating various paper-sorting solutions. I still need to hang the metal strips where the “best of” collection of kid-produced art will be displayed, and I need to consider strategic (but not unsightly) trash can placement to quickly capture all the catalogs and other waste material that comes in the mail.

3. Multi-Layered Extreme Self-Care
When this holiday period ends, we will at last settle into a routine. Boys in school all day (except The Buddha’s half-day on Wednesdays). That means I’ll be free all day, almost every weekday. The crazy-schedule excuses end here. I’m pulling out the calendar and setting regular appointments for:

A. Mindful Meditation
This will be a time to clear the clutter from my mind, body and spirit.

B. Healthy Eating
New year, new recipes. We have a brand-new kitchen with more space for getting creative. Getting the kids more involved will be a big bonus.

C. Heart-Pumping, Calorie-Burning Exercise
The perennial New Year’s resolution favorite. Except this time I mean it! I’m writing it here for all of you to see. I invite you to hold me accountable. Send me e-mails, call me, poke me.

4. Use Time Wisely
A few years ago, I found my first-grade report card at my parents’ house. I got “minuses” in the skill-area labeled “Uses time wisely.” Some who know me might say not much has changed since then. The calendar mentioned above (see No. 3) will become the go-to place for structuring my work, play and self-care time. And, umm, Internet time. As I advise clients who are putting new systems in place, this as a work in progress. Whenever dealing with a learning curve, it is wise not to judge yourself harshly as you trip up along the way. And I am fairly certain I will trip up. Woo-hoo! Embrace the blundering!!

5. Be Present, Be Present, Be Present
Saying it like a mantra helps remind me that this is a conscious choice to be made over and over and over again. A natural accompaniment to presence is gratitude, and I have been serving up more of that, too.

In the spirit of using my time wisely, I’m off to cook for tonight’s holiday dinner. I’m excited to be hosting our dear friends and trying out some new recipes for the new year. Our guests might notice an underlying pomegranate theme for the evening. I love how the sweet-tart juice sacs look like little jewels.


Coach’s Query

Even if it’s not your holiday, chances are that your life moves to the rhythms that — at least here in North America — accompany the crisp energy of fall. What one step can you take that will make this next year sweeter?

  1. Susan permalink

    I LOVE your resolutions. I SECOND them! And I want to copy them, because I need the same ones?

  2. Laura permalink

    Great list, and great idea to make such a thoughtful list in the first place. I share some of your goals, and will add a few of my own over the next week.

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