Here is a list of things that I want to focus on in 2016:
- work out regularly
- lose about 25 pounds.
- write daily
- be creative often
- play games with my children often
- read with my children often
- teach my children things that I’m good at, like piano, and speaking French
- speak French to my kids daily
- make more money
- take our first family vacation ever – maybe even two.
- go out on dates with my wife weekly (sometimes twice a week)
- knock out a project around the house every other week or so
- get out and see what there is to see in the area we live in, often
- get our house organized, picked up, and keep it that way
- do more with music – or just something, at this point
Totally doable, really.
Oh, and this is on top of the daily stuff I already do, like driving kids everywhere, cooking meals, working, supporting my wife and kids in reaching their goals, helping with homeschooling our kids, helping to guide our children as they mature, etc. The above list does have some things that I already do, but they are in the list because of how I would like them to occur more regularly.
Everything in that list also reflects some aspect of my life that I am dissatisfied with. It is a list of imperfections, of disappointments, of failures, presented as a list with a plan. Plan may be a bit of an overstatement – more of a desire to see change. At the very least, the list is based on areas of my life that I think are in need of improvement.
This is not a bad thing. I think that taking honest stock of where we are as individuals, and families, and societies, is the only way to figure out how to improve from where we are.
It’s just that resolutions are popular this time of year. And if they are not based on shame, they most often will lead to shame, as we fail, miss a day, fall off the wagon, lose it with our children, have a car repossessed, lose our job, or any other event that means that we have been unable to follow through on our resolutions.
Resolutions are just too tightly connected with shame. Which is why so many people have either simplified their goals, or mocked and abandoned the whole concept altogether. I have done both.
But I actually don’t think that resolutions are beyond hope. There is still good in them.
I have two thoughts:
- a plan for improvement is good, regardless of the time of year, as long as its success or failure doesn’t end up somehow defining my worth as a person. Making a plan and failing does not make me a failure. A failure is someone who gives up, who quits trying. A person who makes a plan, fails, and then makes a new plan is a growing, and inspiring, human being. Let’s keep improving, though we fail along the way. *side note: a person who makes a plan, fails, and tries the same plan again, over and over again, is insane. Don’t be that person.
- Maybe it’s time to make one resolution to rule them all, that is focused less on the future me, and more on the present me, the person that I am today, beautifully flawed, evolving, and struggling to be the very best version of myself in this moment, regardless of my successes and failures tomorrow. Maybe it’s time to resolve to the now. To be in the moment, fully. To live today, with hopes and dreams in my heart, and a plan, of course, but tuned into the opportunities I have today, the relationships I have right now.
What if the best that I can do this year is to be the best version of myself right now? Not perfect. I will never be perfect, though I will keep trying. But I can be the best that I can be in this moment. And that is enough for me today.
Jeremy Martin-Weber is the proud father of 6 inspiring girls, and is 19 years into a love story with his partner, Jessica Martin-Weber.