But I made an attempt in 2019. It seemed as if everyone was choosing a “word for the year” and so I jumped on the bandwagon. I had already committed to train for a half marathon due to wanting to meet a fundraising goal. So I thought it fitting to choose the word training.
So naturally, that worked well “queue eye roll.” By the summer of that year, I had given up on training for my half-marathon due to an injury, my mom came to live with us, and we welcomed a newborn foster child into our home (making us the parents of three kids 5 and under). I was in total survival mode and NOT consistently training or resting well.
I was so exhausted and in need of alone time by the end of each day that I simply did what I always did. Scroll my phone, watch my show, stare at the ceiling, etc.
I remembered how I started the year with great expectations, so in addition to catching up on much-needed sleep, I dove into a book called “The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction” by Justin Earley. He talked about how “40 percent of the actions we take every day are not the products of choices but of habits.” Moreover, he explained that our day-to-day routines are anything but neutral because anything you repeat over and over again shapes who you are, what you think about, and what you prioritize. We essentially become our habits.
We like to put a lot of stock in making the right BIG decisions, like choosing a career or a spouse, where to buy a home, going for that big promotion, or when to start a family. And while those moments are important, even determinate of where we may end up, what is truly forming us into the person we will be are the tiny moments in between.
The actions, interactions, inactions, and even thoughts we allow to run through our minds on the average Tuesday are shaping us far more than we may realize.
For me, I can easily say yes to a foster child in a big defining moment, but struggle to look up from my phone when my children want to play a game with me.
I knew making a decision to do something big or hard (like foster or train for a big race) won’t help me become the wife, mother, or friend I want to be in the little moments. In fact, those tend to be the very things I will use to rationalize a moment of impatience with my husband, “The baby had me up last night” or “I was tired from my run this morning,” etc etc.
I walked away from that retreat convicted that though I had failed my training resolution, I had still been training that whole year, just not in the way I meant to. The habits I had formed to cope in a crazy season may have helped me survive, but still left me feeling burnt out. It was like I was quenching my thirst with saltwater because I couldn’t find my way to the fresh stuff.
I came home with a plan to re-train my thoughts and actions by forming intentional habits.
Creatures of Habit
“The orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire.”
I have a whole new set of habits I have developed (ie survival skills) to make the most of what 2020 threw at me. Some of which are healthier than others. Going into this new year I want to take stock of what has actually quenched my thirst and what was simply salt water.
The last thing I want is to send you on an unnecessary guilt trip. Surviving in 2020 alone was a big accomplishment. But, I want to encourage you to look back on how you spent your time as a way of self-assessment. Did you develop habits that helped you move forward as a person? Or did your habits simply help you pass the time or escape the harsh realities we’re living in? What habits do you want to keep? What needs to go to the chopping block … or at least be limited?
Look into 2021 with the goal of being intentional with your time. Of training your mind, body, and soul for the things you want to be about. To forming healthy habits. To take one day at a time, one moment at a time. Cause whether TRAINING is your “word of the year” or not, it is your everyday reality. So let’s train well in 2021 friends.