Virtual Voices

Help for the resolution blues

Family

OK, so we're one week into 2010, how are you doing on your New Year's resolutions?

I'm with Paul:

"For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:22-24)

Translated into 21st century mom-ese, it could easily read like this:

"Lord, help me. I want to be kinder to my children, to get up earlier, to beat my cobwebby mind into submission. But I'm tired. Clean worn out, God, with the trying and the same old dishes always getting dirty and the same old laundry always sitting reproachfully in my laundry room that always has the eau de puppy rather than that fresh laundry smell. Oh, wretched woman that I am! Who will deliver me out of this (middle-aged) body of death?"

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The things I want to do (get up earlier, make better breakfasts, arrive at the school table cheerfully, ignore the muddy puppy paw prints on the window, read an hour a day to my kids, play board games when I really, really, would rather devour that pile of books I got for Christmas), I don't. Those things I don't want to do (snap at the littles, stay up too late, eat too many nacho chips), I do.

For those of us sluggishly recovering from our two-week Christmas/New Year's slugfest, the following ideas/tools might help:

  1. The Pomodoro technique: Based on the Italian word for "tomato," set your (tomato or any other shaped) kitchen timer for 25 minutes and work like a dog. Clean the kitchen. Teach math to the kindergartner. Write a blog post. Then take five minutes off. Check email. Take a quick walk. Then, repeat. For those of you at your computer, download this nifty timer to keep yourself in check. Or check out the technique here.
  2. Incorporate "micromovements." I love, LOVE this idea from SARK. It's perfect for the procrastinator. What is a micromovement? A tiny step toward your goal. If your goal is to finally start painting again, rather than focus on the final masterpiece, start with laying out your painting supplies. Lay out your paintbrushes on day one. Lay out your paper on day two. Go through all your old paints and decide what paints you need to purchase on day three. On day four buy those paints and put them in your painting area. Visit a museum for inspiration on day five. Then, sketch out your basic idea. Paint one tree.

You get the picture. Micromovements make the largest and scariest tasks seem doable. Don't be embarrassed by how simple the task might be. Laying out the paintbrushes may seem a miniscule move, but one that can be monumental because it establishes a habit of completion. This eventually becomes momentum. And momentum leads to accomplishment.

If all else fails, your hundredth diet included, console yourself with a verse just a couple down from the previous one:

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Now that, my friends, sounds like a good way to start 2010.

Amy Henry
Amy Henry

Amy is a married mother of six and a WORLD correspondent from Kansas. Follow her other "scribbles" at Whole Mama or by reading her book Story Mama: What Children's Stories Teach Us About Life, Love and Mothering. Follow Amy on Twitter @wholemama.

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