Although it is already January 9th for me it is Day 1 of the New Year. Today is the first day back at school and the first day in weeks that I have sat at my desk without interruption. Today is the first day I have thought about what 2012 might bring for me, my family, and UrbanMoms. 

Many people talk resolutions at this time of year but for the last few years I have approached this time a bit differently. Instead of self-improvement and reflective criticism I like to look ahead and make promises on how I will be better to myself. Instead of, “Hey fatso. You spent last year overindulging and it is time to smarten up!” I prefer to look back and reflect on what brought me joy and what helped me to learn and grow. And then make plans to add more of this to my life in the coming year.
For example, last year I made a promise to myself to focus more on relationships that lifted me up, friendships that were mutually beneficial. I wanted to spend my time with people who brought positive things to my life and where I felt I was contributing positive things to them. I had wasted many years on friendships that sucked me dry. Where the two of us fought hard to maintain a friendship that was not a positive force for either of us. I wanted to shift all of that wasted energy and use it to build relationships that added something to my life. This was not only good for me but for everyone in my life.
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Stepping back from a friendship can be very difficult. I had to prepare myself for hurt feelings and judgment. But if losing my mother taught me one thing it is that how you live your life rests solely on your shoulders. You can be passive and let things happen to you and worry about what other people will think. You can let others decide your path and guide your life for you while you sit on the sidelines pointing fingers and placing blame. Or you can take control and be the one calling the shots. I had decided to love myself for who I am, not worry about other people’s judgment and take control. It was not easy but I am getting better and better at it with practice and it has freed up so much time and energy.
So, that takes me to this year. My promise to myself for 2012 is similar. It goes along with the theme of getting rid of negative stresses and focusing on the positive, of using my energy to add value and good things to my life instead of wasting it on things that aren’t working.
I have decided this year not to do anything I don’t want to do. OK, that is not totally true. I still have to do laundry, cook dinner, file my taxes, pay the bills. But these things are required. What I mean is that I will no longer do things I don’t want to if I have the choice. I will no longer do something because I feel guilty or because I think I should. 
In fact, I have already come up against this in the first week of the New Year. I was invited to attend an event that, in the past, I would have attended because I felt obligated. At the same time missing the precious time I have at home with my family. I turned it down and enjoyed cheering my son on at his hockey game.
I was also approached about a new project from a client that I turned down. I knew that I was not the right person for the job and that I really didn’t enjoy this type of work so I called on a friend who I know would be the perfect fit and referred her. A missed opportunity? Maybe. But I won’t be wasting a speck of energy on something I don’t enjoy.
Maybe I’m crazy. I guess we’ll find out. But at least I’ll be happy!
What do you think about my promise to myself? Have you made any for 2012?

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