Happy 2016! - Crisis Assistance Center, Montgomery County, Conroe, Texas

Do Less with More in 2016

 

Have you given thought to that annual question of New Year’s resolutions? It seems like every year at this time we take inventory of the things that fill our lives, our homes and our all too precious time. If your home is anything like mine right now, you have way too many cookies, too many toys and too many types of soaps and lotions (tip: don’t mix Japanese Cherry Blossom body wash with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar hand cream…these scents don’t get along). We spend weeks shopping and preparing, days visiting loved one’s homes and more days following Christmas doing more shopping and exchanging of things that didn’t fit or were the wrong color. All of this, understandably, leaves us feeling a little dizzy, unfulfilled and questioning our use of our most precious resource; time. What if we spent our time where our hearts are? Would we need New Year’s resolutions?

Today is my birthday. I have all of these questions in addition to the ‘what have I accomplished in the past year of my life.’ I have resolved to do less in 2016. I have an idea that if my calendar is less crowded, I will have time to ponder and be more intentional about the way I spend my time. If I can do that, more of my days will be children’s smiles, leaves in the wind, and favorite songs on the radio kind of days.

 

Here are some strategies I have to do less by doing more in 2016:

 

  1. Save More Money:

There are so many ways to save money and most of them are ways to simplify our lives and save time in the process. From making coffee at home to never shopping hungry, here is a great article on how we can save more: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/8-simple-ways-to-save-money-help-stop-poverty.html. By shopping less for things I don’t need, I will have more time to let peace sneak in.

  1. Clean out More of the Junk:

Do I really need a melon baller? I have never balled a melon in my life, but there it sits in my utensil drawer along with a dozen shrimp forks that I will never use. Getting rid of things I don’t use will simplify my home and save time when I am looking for the things I do use. This will help: http://home.howstuffworks.com/green-living/how-to-declutter-house.htm. Those things that we spend our energy thinking about, looking for and taking care of are the things that make up our lives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcMvKZIeZoI

  1. Give More:

We can give money, but when we volunteer our time there are so many other things that happen: relationships are built, ideas are exchanged, and people are informed. One of my biggest challenges is how to give time without clogging my calendar, but I think I may have found a solution: replace something on my calendar with volunteering. Author Bob Goff suggests quitting something on a regular basis to make room for things that are important. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/10-ways-live-extraordinary-life He suggests every Thursday to quit something, but any day of the week will do. Here’s what you will gain: http://www.createthegood.org/articles/volunteeringhealth

  1. Get Outside More:

The best things about nature are that it’s FREE, all day, every day, everywhere! It doesn’t matter how much money you make or where you live, everyone can take advantage of the medical and mental health benefits of nature. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/nature-therapy-ecotherapy. Being outside seems to automatically engage our senses which seems to slow things down. All of a sudden we see, smell, taste and feel things differently.

  1. Say ‘No’ More:

I just finished pet/house sitting for my mother for three weeks. She has two large, spoiled, standard poodles. When my mom asked if I would watch them, I first mentioned a doggie daycare or kennel, a doggy spa really, her face turned concerned and she said to me, “but they won’t show them as much love as you will.” My heart melted a little bit and I said yes. What I failed to consider was that this decision affected my entire family. This meant the kids would have to get up an hour earlier to make it to the bus stop on time, we would have to plan all holiday outings around the dogs eating and walking schedule, not to mention the fact that my son is allergic to these dogs who aren’t supposed to shed. My point is that while I felt I was being generous and blessing my mom with this reprieve from her pets, I was also being selfish. I wanted all the good feelings that go along with doing something nice for someone without thinking about what that would do to the rest of my family.

Sometimes saying ‘no’ to one request is saying ‘yes’ to something else. Saying no allows space for joy and peace to come in.

 

My theory is if I do less in 2016 there will be room in my life to see all of the Peace, Joy and Love that’s already there and welcome even more. Wishing you a Happy New Year!