By: Nancy Kohut, Mentor Mom, Awesome Woman
Same you, new beginning. New Year’s resolutions – many of us make them in hopes of a new and improved version of ourselves by year end. I tend to shy away from making resolutions. Because they’re too much pressure. Because I have unrealistic expectations. Because I fear failure. Because I want to improve all aspects of myself, all at once, and I know that’s crazy. Because when the calendar flips over to February and I’m still desperately trying to tell myself that I don’t need sugar every afternoon at 3pm, and I still haven’t cracked open the book that three friends recommended to me, and speaking of friends, why haven’t I made an effort to have coffee with any of them yet? I’m not feeling so motivated about my resolutions any more. So no resolutions made = no resolutions broken, right?
But something my daughter, Amie, said convinced me (again) that I learn just as much, if not more from her, than I teach her. At a rest stop on New Year’s Day, my husband explained to Amie how some people like to make New Year's resolutions and what that meant. He gave her some examples of typical resolutions. We then asked her if she wanted to make a New Year's resolution and awaited her answer with curious anticipation. Matter-of-factly (as only children know how), she said, "I would like to do two kind things each day." What? I seriously thought she was going to say “two kind things for the year”, which still would’ve impressed me for a six-year-old, but “each day”? That’s nearly imposs-…no wait, why hadn’t I thought of that? That’s so doable!
While I don't know if she's actually going to follow through on this, it made think about how most of our resolutions are tangible, measurable, and self-focused – lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, spend less money, get more sleep, spend more time with friends, read more, and so on. These resolutions presume that we have to fix something about our every day, and often involve overcoming mental hurdles to alter our lifestyle. And though I believe it is worthwhile to improve ourselves by instilling good habits and letting go of bad habits, these changes take time, sometimes much longer than a year. Maybe we could all benefit by adding something that is a little less daunting to our lists, something that is “other-” and "love-focused". Being kind is something we can all do, right now, every day. No monthly membership fee, special equipment, or app needed - just your heart. We might be out of practice and it might feel strange at first, but I think we all know how to live it out. Choosing a gentle reminder over a harsh word, showing patience over an eye-roll, giving a friendly smile to a stranger, sending a quick text message to a hurting friend, and even forgiving yourself for falling behind on that New Year’s resolution.
Who will you be kind to today?