So it’s 2020. Who do you want to be this year*, especially for those around you?
Parents: Who do we want to be this year for our kids? To be able to show up (with a bit more patience!) and best support our kids?
Perhaps counter-intuitive, though I’m thinking the key to this is going to tie tightly into what we choose to do for ourselves. If we want to be able to give to our kids (and others), then our own bucket had better be continually filled and refilling. Because it’s really hard to give what we don’t have (and if you’ve given that a try before, then you know it’s a recipe for resentment, exhaustion, and some sort of disaster).
So next question: What are we going to choose to do for ourselves this year?
Seriously, I’m asking you and me this. What are you going to choose to do to help fill your bucket this year? What am I going to choose to do to help fill my bucket?
A note on bucket filling: It’s not a one and done, grand gesture and get “there” kind of thing. It’s a baby step by (sometimes painful, painstaking, or seemingly pointless) baby step kind of thing, asking of us a regular commitment and a dose of trust that it is worth it and helpful.
Items that fill our buckets don’t have to be long or involve going anywhere. They can be super duper simple (and simple/quick might even be more helpful than getting fancy, since our likelihood of following through will increase and follow through is key here). Yes, we can make time in our day for some bucket filling. I contend it’s critical that we prioritize the filling first in order to help avoid empty bucket disasters. Empty buckets = exhaustion, frustration, impatience, and unhappiness. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want more of this year.
Now, to fill our buckets? There are any number of things we could do, no one size fits all. Maybe it’s taking 5 minutes to stretch first thing in the morning (before we check our phones and get carried away with worries and to do lists!). Perhaps it’s deciding on a reminder or mantra that gives us a bit of mental space (such as Everything is figureoutable or Life is messy), writing it down on a piece of paper, and reading it aloud to ourselves each day, especially when we start feeling worried, tense, anxious, or down. Or it could be something like deciding (and then practicing) drinking a glass of water and taking 3 deep breaths before dinner each evening to help bring ourselves back to ourselves after the hustle and bustle of the day. Or maybe something totally different. What matters is that we find it useful, bucket filling, and doable.
On my end, I’m committing to getting up when my alarm rings instead of hitting snooze repeatedly, which I did almost every day towards the end of last year. When up at my alarm, I’ve got the time I know I need to move into my day with time to work out any wonkies/crankies before my kids get up. (I love me some morning stretching and exercise — I know I know it saves me from a chunk of pain and misunderstanding during the day.) It’s easier to move into my day feeling a bit more even keel and calm, which for me translates into a smoother day overall. When I don’t? I start the day feeling rushed and behind, carrying the feeling of “I’m running late!!” with me and spewing it all over the rest of the day (and anyone in my path). I know I don’t like how that feels very much or how the day turns out, which typically includes tears.
I’m not expecting myself to be perfect; I’ve been around the block and know I may reach for the snooze sometimes. And this is okay; I’m messily human and getting there is no “there” or “perfect” to get to in this life. What I am going to do this year is keep on practicing considering who I want to be, and then reminding myself that each day is a chance to practice honoring this commitment to myself. Then, I’ll see how many more days in 2020 I can get up with the alarm than last year. Baby steps.
Now, I’m handing the ball over to you: Who do you want to be this year? What can you choose to do to help fill your own bucket so you can best show up who and how you want to in 2020? It and you are totally worth making the time and effort. And as a bonus, your kids seeing you making time to take care of yourself will help them learn to do the same. Win-win to the max.