It's the first week of January, so I am ready for a whole new year of goals, lists, and to-dos with my family. The Type A organized side of me always LOVES this time of year. Out with the old, in with the new! Amen.
Last year, as many of you know, my family chose Choose the Good as a our family mantra/mission statement to guide us through the year. That basically meant that every time we had a choice to make, we'd stop, breathe, repeat the mission and then do the "good thing." Read or watch television? Choose the good. Eat a sleeve of Oreos in one sitting or go for a walk? Choose the good. Have another glass of wine and watch another Netflix episode or get a good night's sleep? Choose the good. Before we knew it, we were losing weight, reading more, having more fun together, and growing as human beings. I have to say, as a human who has been on this planet for 40 years, it was absolutely, without a doubt, my best year yet. So we weren't entirely ready to give up "Choose the good." Rather, we wanted to put a little spit and polish on it until we, as they say in Annie, "Shine, like the top of the Chrysler building!" That's right, the Hackett's 2017 mission/mantra is: SHINE!
Over the years Greg, the kids, and I have made extremely long lists of unattainable goals and resolutions, that had us feeling, well, like failures. We beat ourselves up every December 31st, because of the things we didn't do that we said we'd do on January 1. And, let's face it, life is just too short for that. While I am still an advocate of writing down your goals and holding yourself accountable daily, I also believe there is a better and easier way to achieve whatever it is you're trying to attain.
And here's what worked for my family: Choosing a mantra.
How to do it?
Think of something you want to work on as an individual or family, then choose a mantra or a word that you can remember that might help you, then repeat it often, and here's the important part, USE it, every day, all day. Start each day with that intention "Today I will shine. Or, today I will be present. Or, today I will be grateful." Then throughout the day remind yourself what your intention, mission, or mantra is. And keep it the same all day, every day, all year. You'll start to see results, because it will become a habit. (Some other suggestions: Choose kind. Be present. Be patient. Breathe. Be the light.)
We chose "SHINE" because we were looking for something simple we could all remember, and it encompassed our desires as a family, mainly to be kind, positive, empathetic people who could "be the light" to others--to help, heal, serve, and love--whenever we can, however we can, wherever we can. We also wanted to be able to use our god-given talents to do so. Our special gifts, talents, and skills are what make us unique, and by not using them, we not only hurt ourselves, we hurt others. We are all meant to use our talents for the greater good. ALL OF US.
We worked really hard last year on improving ourselves and our family internally and now we want to turn that focus outward and do our best to shine and be a beacon of light for others. That's my hope this year, and it's my hope for my kids too. As a mother, I am always so proud of all they do, and I know what they're capable of, and now I want them to really see and recognize the beauty, talent, intelligence, and light that's within them. Most of all, I don't want them to be afraid to let others see these qualities too. I want them stand tall in their truth, in their beliefs, and become the individuals they were meant to be regardless what anyone else thinks.
I wrote our mantra on a chalkboard with fancy lettering (because I am an unabashed overachiever who likes to make everything look pretty and who has spent one too many hours on Pinterest), but you can write it on a Post-It and stick it somewhere where you'll see it every day. It doesn't have to be fancy. You just have to see it. We hung ours in the kitchen by the doorway, that way it will be seen at least three times a day, and every time someone leaves or comes home, they see it, too.
Whatever you decide this year's mantra will be for you and your family, I wish you all the best this year and I hope it's your year to SHINE, too!
(Today I had the chance to talk about choosing a mantra with the wonderful hosts of Good Morning Cincinnati. If you'd like to watch, click here.)