New Year’s was always a very special time for me. When I was a child, it was tradition for us to go to church on New Year’s Eve and spend the hours counting down until midnight with our church family.
Here in China, January 1st comes and goes without much fuss. There were some fireworks here and there (although not that many in our neighborhood—certainly no more than normal), and everyone wished each other xin nian quai le. There’s a holiday as well, though not specifically attached to the idea of the new year. The bigger deal is the lunar new year or Spring Festival coming up in a few weeks.
But New Year’s for me has always been a time of introspection–of deciding if I’m happy with the direction of my life and whether any changes are in order.
In recent years, many people have declared resolutions no good because few people actually keep them. While I understand this sentiment, I nevertheless think a bit of introspection and examination of the direction of our lives is a healthy thing. And setting new goals (as long as they are realistic, measurable and attainable), may be in order as well.
According to Webster’s to resolve something is to to reach a firm decision about a matter. I frankly can’t see any harm in that.
There is more than one area I want to see change in. I don’t think I’ve entirely figured out yet the whole direction of the change necessary in our homeschool. I thought I had a plan, and then received a phone call yesterday that our Chinese tutor can no longer teach our kids, which may mean a serious shake-up in our current schedule. But until I am resolved about that matter, here are my other firm decisions:
- Bring better organization to our homeschool, including firmer routines for our morning, so my children know what is expected of them in the mornings before homeschool starts. To that end, I found this great checklist and have tweaked it for our use. I also find that at least one of my kids needs very specific instructions about how to get jobs done, so I purchased this ebook with printable chore cards that describe each task in detail, so kids have a reminder right in front of them at all times. (Special thanks to Tricia Hodge of www.hodgepodge.me for pointing me to those wonderful resources.) I also purchased a used copy of the out-of-print book, What to Do when Your Mom or Dad Says, “Clean Your Room!” because every kind of medicine goes down better when there’s a good book attached to it.
- With the lessons I learned during NaNoWriMo about just what I’m capable of when I set my mind to it, I want to move my writing time from segregated times during my week to a daily activity every afternoon, after my “office hours,” which I have made a firm decision need to be in the afternoon. (It is very tempting to keep hours first thing in the morning after rising, since this is when all our friends and family back in North America are still up, and it’s possible to send emails or even chat on Skype, but this is not conducive to beginning the homeschool day on time.)
- I became much more consistent at keeping a daily devotional time last year. But I want to see that time go deeper this year. I’ve adopted a less rigorous reading schedule in favor of more time for scripture memory. I plan to keep up with 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, but in looking over the list of verses, I realized I’d already memorized quite a number of them, either on my own or with my kids as part of homeschool, so I’ll be supplementing frequently with verses of my own choosing.
- I’m almost afraid to put this next one out there, it’s so cliché, and it’s the one I know will be most difficult for me to keep. Yes, I am resolved to exercise more faithfully (as in 2-3 times per week). I always see the results when I do, and I always feel better for it. However, it’s the first thing to squeeze out of my morning when push comes to shove.
- And please don’t look back at last year’s blog post on goals, or you’ll see that this is a repeat from then. I am resolved to be in bed by 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. most nights. It’s what my body needs to do the rest of those things above.
What steps am I going to take to be sure and follow through on these, so they won’t just be resolutions, but reality? Well, I’ve already talked about them with my husband. It helps to be accountable to him and to get his help and encouragement when I’m feeling weak. And I plan to reassess every month, to make sure I’m staying faithful to what I’ve resolved. Keep me honest, will you?