Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 | Default

When I sat down to think about the year ahead, I first tried to map out the big things I know are coming in 2017:

HP starts full-day kindergarten. This feels momentous. Kindergarten! It will be a big transition, but I have no doubt he will thrive. That said, I think we will all need time to adjust and will have to be patient with ourselves in August and September as we find our new normal.

E starts preschool. This doesn't feel quite as big, either because she is the second child (sorry, E!) or because she is already regularly in childcare at the gym several hours a week. Whereas for HP preschool really was the first time he had been away from me on any kind of regular basis. I am excited to watch her take this step. For me, it means I will have regularly scheduled chunks of time during the week to pursue my own projects--a first for me since becoming a parent. It also means there will be lots of shuttling in my future: HP to school, E to preschool, E from preschool, HP from school.

The end of diapers! Okay, I don't know this will happen, but I am hopeful. HP toilet trained just past two and a half and I am hoping the same will happen for E this spring or summer. Sometimes I allow myself to dream about being done with cloth diapers. And that dream is amazing. May it come true in 2017.

In the past I have chosen a word to guide to intentions and focus my actions throughout the year. This year I chose default. I decided on it after reading through some old blog posts from New Years' past, one of which referenced the power of identity-based habits. It resonated with me then, and it still does today.

When I am making a choice this year, I want to ask myself what I want my default to be. Then I want to do that thing. Hopefully by the end of the year, that choice will have truly become my default and I won't have to continually ask the question.

I want my defaults to be: read instead of scrolling Instagram. (I am a person who reads.) not automatically reach for my phone to fill time. (I am a person who is not addicted to my phone.) play games/cards or chat with Neil in the evenings instead of watching a show. (I am a person who takes the time to connect with my spouse.) go on regular walks. (I am a person who exercises / takes time for myself.) go to bed before 9 p.m. and not bring my phone into the room. (I am a person who prioritizes sleep.) say yes to my kids. (I am a person who connects with and enjoys my children.) write first during rest time. (I am a person who writes.) take action where there is a need in our community. (I am a person who acts.)

I do not think most of the above are a huge stretch; I often make those choices and am that person. But I would like to make being that person more ingrained, more automatic. When life gets stressful it is easy to slip into bad patterns and choose the easier option instead of the better one. My hope is that if I focus on my defaults, then what is better will become easier.

(p.s. Abby and I talk more about goals and intentions in the latest episode of Friendlier.)

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