Holiday Aftermath: Laying a Foundation for the New Year

We did it. We survived the holidays.

I absolutely LOVE the Christmas season, but I have to admit that the start of January always finds me breathing a deep sigh of relief. I like routines and normalcy, and while the specialness of the festive season is wonderful, the regular, ordinary days just have a little more peace about them.

We traveled to Virginia for Christmas to see my family. The time we had with them was amazing, but the drive to and from was a nightmare. I would describe it to you, but that would require re-living it and remembering what happened, and I am actively trying to block it from my memory.

Calmly trying to convince my child to hand over the bat before she destroys everything. She’s not convinced.

 

But now, it’s January, the time of fresh starts and new beginnings. This year, though, it doesn’t feel like the right time to set a bunch of new goals.

I have another fresh start coming in March as I step down from my current job and pursue writing along with staying home with my kids (I shared more about that here). So in many ways, I feel like I’m entering a season of preparation during the next couple of months leading up to that change.

Everything about my days will look different, and I will have a lot of freedom with how I use my time. Of course, “freedom” might be too generous a word since I will have two three-year-olds to keep alive and entertain. But it will be up to me how I shape and schedule my days.

So as I prepare for this next season, rather than set goals or make changes that will only change again when this big life shift comes, I’m focusing on something else: foundations.

A foundation is something to build on, the routines and habits that will make the rest of life work a little better.

In this season of preparation for what’s next, I’m looking at the basics, asking myself what will set me up well for this transition. Several areas come to mind:

Nutrition.
Exercise.
Daily writing.
Home organization.

Typically, I would jump right on and decide that as of January 1st, I will do x, y, and z: I will not eat sugar. I will exercise every day. I will write for 30 minutes daily. I will have a place for everything and everything in its place.

But I know myself: if I make a giant list of things to do, it will overwhelm me and I’ll end up doing nothing.

So instead, I’m viewing the next couple months as a time to think through these areas, try a few different approaches to them, and hopefully find what works for me by experimenting.

Instead of resolving to have all these areas under control in the new year, I’m going to spend the next couple months trying out some habits and finding what works.

Here’s what I want to explore:

Nutrition
I want to get a better handle on meal planning and have a good rotation of healthy meals and snacks. I want to not feel stressed out when my child asks me first thing in the morning, “What’s for dinner?”, because I already have a plan.

Exercise
I want to get back into doing pilates daily. I was doing really with this for a while and found it to be something I enjoyed, but then my routine got thrown off and I didn’t keep up with it. For me, I know it’s a matter of setting aside the same time every day, rather than trying to just “fit it in” somewhere. I want to experiment with what the best time of day would be for incorporating this habit.

Daily Writing
I want to write something every day, even if it’s just journaling for a few minutes. As my schedule changes, the ideal time to do this will change as well.

Home Organization
I also want to get our house in order. I got rid of a lot of clutter before we moved, but then Christmas happened and life happened, and the stuff always seems to re-accumulate, doesn’t it? Now that we’ve lived in our home for a bit, I’m learning what’s working and what’s not as far as how things are set up. So I want to start moving towards a more settled home and space.

These are the foundations I’m focusing on during this season of preparation. I know I won’t have them figured out or perfected before March, but I’ll use this time to experiment with different habits and routines in these areas. Not to perfect them, but to discover what works for me.

What are the foundations that would serve you? What are the basic building blocks of your days that, if they were working well, would make all the difference for you and your family?

I’d encourage you to identify those and experiment with them. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get them exactly right, but give yourself freedom to try some different things. There’s no one right way. Try some new habits and see what works for you.

Remember that while goals are good, the point of it all is growth. Give yourself time and know that it’s a process. Start with the basics and don’t be afraid to start over if it’s not working.

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