Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year & Resolutions

We didn't get a chance to send out Christmas cards this year, so I thought I'd post the infographic that I planned to include with them.  (You can click the image to make it bigger if the fine print is a little too small).

For the past few years, I've tried to come up with some realistic New Year Resolutions for myself.  Things that I really believe I can do and that will help me be a better person.  This year is no exception, and I've had a lot of fun coming up with a few things that I hope to accomplish by the start of 2016.  

Most of my goals this year center around my anxiety & panic disorder.  If you know me well, or you've read this blog, you might know that I have struggled for some time with panic attacks and periods of anxiety of varying intensities.  Over the last year, I have made HUGE strides in this exhausting race to beat the anxiety.  My counselor (who experiences anxiety herself) has helped me leaps and bounds and taught me ways to keep it at bay, and with help, I've been able to finally get some relief from it.  I tell you all this, because anxiety and panic are silent problems that affect so many more people than we realize.  No one talks about these problems.  It took me YEARS to work up the courage to get help for my anxiety.  I was embarrassed that I was so terrified to do things that other people did everyday without thinking twice.  I was convinced I was crazy.  I was afraid people would say I needed to be "sent somewhere".  Anyway, I'm here to tell you, MANY MANY people struggle in the SAME WAYS.  Now that I'm in a place where I can think more clearly, I've become passionate about the continuous healing process that I'm in (it truly takes constant, vigilant effort to keep moving forward), and about encouraging others who are experiencing anxiety or panic, and helping people who don't to understand this disorder so they can learn to be more understanding toward the people who do struggle with it.

ANYWAY.  That was a bit of a deep bunny trail.  My resolutions for this year are all actually pretty lighthearted.  And that's kind of the point of them.  To lighten that 'heavy' pressure of the anxiety when it tries to creep its way in! :)

This year, I really want to focus on being more positive.  Positivity, gratefulness, and finding joy are so important for keeping the anxiety at bay.  :)  

This has become one of my favorite verses.  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. - Philippians 4:8 (NLT).

It's one of those verses that I love to look at all the different translations of the Bible to understand better.  There are SO many (all happy and positive) things that the different translations command us to keep our thoughts on.  Whatever is: true, authentic, honorable, proper, gracious, noble, reputable, respected, worthy of reverence, honest, right, just, fair, good, clean, pure, holy, lovely, and loveable, the beautiful NOT the ugly, the best NOT the worst, friendly, amiable, admirable, winsome, gracious, excellent, commendable, worthy of praise, and virtuous.  Wow! How much better would I feel if I would dwell on these things? If I focused on the beautiful, not the ugly? The best, not the worst? If I didn't just jump to the negative conclusion, and instead focus on the positive in each bad, sad, or difficult moment?

So, I decided to use this verse as a guide to start "a-photo-a-day" challenge for 2015.  My goal is to take 1 picture every day of something that follows the qualifications of Philippians 4:8.  I hope to periodically have these pictures printed and combine them into some sort of photo journal of all the happy, quiet, lovely moments that happened around me in every day of 2015.  I have had my eye on some gorgeous Project Life albums and kits that I think would be an awesome outlet to showcase these pictures.  And it would help me with the second part of my 'positivity' resolution, which is about gratitude.

I saw this awesome idea on pinterest, to keep a gratitude jar and fill it with jotted down recollections of happy moments as they happen.

I think it would be more effective for me, though, to do it in journal form, and the Project Life albums will be a great outlet to jot down these moments to remember.  I love the adorable little cards that you can buy (or download) to jot these moments and memories and happy thoughts on.

So together, I think the photos and the journaling cards will come together to make a great 2015 gratitude album! :)

One last easy thing that I'm hoping to do this year (since I will be having a baby and will be home a lot more) is to keep myself busy (not that I'm expecting to just be laying around all day after the baby is born! haha!).  But I want to keep my myself distracted from overthinking (a big anxiety producer for me) by entertaining myself with other outlets.  For this I decided to make a list of books to read.  I LOVE to read, and I always say I want to read more, so this will be a good way to follow through with that!  I saw a similar idea of this on Pinterest, but I went ahead and made a category list of my own that was more suited to my tastes (and to staying positive). (I'm having trouble making this picture big enough to read, but to see it bigger, you can right click on it, and then click "view image".  You can then click on the picture again to make it even bigger.)

This list ended up feeling a bit ambitious, so we'll see if I actually get ALL this done!  I have a feeling, at least the Children's book portion of the list will fly by after the baby's born! ;). 

Here's to a lovely, beautiful, pure, and excellent 2015!!! Happy New Year!

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