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The Year of the Manifesto

I have something to say about resolutions, but first, let me wish you a Happy New Year! It’s day 3 already and, by this time last year, I had already broken the resolutions I made. Because I am weak and pathetic. Those are the exact names my tennis shoes called me when I shoved them to the back of the closet. Actually, none of that is true. The only shoes who verbally address me are my black riding boots and they mostly just shout at me to take them out all the time. Talking footwear aside, this has already been a year where I’ve kind of looked around to see what’s holding up my life. I’m taking stock and looking into what motivates me and what it is that’s important enough to keep me going. This is the time of year when people do that and we come up with New Year’s Resolutions. Except, I’m not going to be doing that anymore.

So, instead of writing resolutions, I’m writing these mini-manifestos on my other blogging site. Resolutions, for me, are really just ways in which I can let myself down by failing to hit a mark. They set me up for failure because they’re actually far too general in nature. Things like “Lose 15 pounds” doesn’t begin to say what I’ll do about it. If I wrote instead that I wanted to play volleyball twice a week and take a kickboxing class on the weekend then I think that’s a better choice. Sure, they both have Get Healthy as a theme, but writing out specifically what I want is actually working for me in a way I hadn’t expected. I had to start somewhere and it came down to this: I needed to write out what I wanted my life to look like. I’m sharing these with you so you can get an idea of where my head is at when I’m writing and also because I think it’s just a good writing exercise and when I find something that works I like to share.

It might not be fair to say that I’ve been discontent with life because things are pretty much moving along in my life and I’m happy. My children are growing and changing and schooling and working. My job is at the fun part of the year when I get to visit all the elementary schools to register the 5th graders for next school year. Things are going well with The Cuban and we’re really happy in our relationship. There’s no shortage of being bored or out of writing ideas, either, but sometimes I get paralyzed with writing and that’s when I shut down the online activity and retreat to my writing journals. This time, however, I stepped into creating these little pictures with words on them. I’m sure creative people with access to great platforms can do it better, but where else should I have started? Even though I adore taking pictures and then using said pictures in posts, I decided to make these word pictures instead and let them guide me through the writing process. They’re guiding me here, too. Come along and see what I want my life to look like this year and how I’m doing it right now.

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  • Wake up when my body tells me to wake up 1 of 5
    Wake up when my body tells me to wake up
    Since I have a job outside the home I have to manage this one carefully right now. That means going to bed earlier than I usually do and it also means I have to turn off the tv, books, and my brain earlier. Waking to an alarm is, well, alarming. It scares me and I hate the feeling I get once I hear that annoying blaring in the morning. In order to achieve peace, I'm going to wake up naturally.
  • Take risks by asking for things 2 of 5
    Take risks by asking for things
    When I'm talking to people there is an imaginary thread going on in my head. It sounds like this: "Stop talking. Tell them what you really want." Sometimes, I will actually verbalize it and it always surprises me when I do. This means being more vulnerable and asking for things that I assume I won't get. When I asked my boss if I could take off for Africa for a week it floored me when he said yes. It's not about getting everything you want, but you certainly don't get anything by keeping that imaginary thread going on in your head. I've decided to let it out and take either rejection or elation as a result.
  • Slow down for coffee 3 of 5
    Slow down for coffee
    Too often I ask friends to join me for a quick cup of coffee. If visiting the Coffee Capital of the World (Ethiopia) taught me anything, it's that when you enjoy people you do it slowly. Since I enjoy both people and coffee, I plan to make more time for this and cut other things out. I want leisurely time with friends as we sip coffee, not gulp it and dash off to the next thing.
  • Mark time with my words 4 of 5
    Mark time with my words
    I have a lot of journals that just have paragraphs in them but no dates attached. It takes a while for me to remember how old I was when I wrote it. This year, I'm making more time for writing and I'm adding time frames to them. If I look back at the end of 2013 and see that March was filled with words but July wasn't, then I'll reassess what I was doing in July and make sure I want to keep doing it. Otherwise, I'm marking the time by putting things down on paper. Or online. Or both. It's still a goal, right?
  • Be daring when I talk 5 of 5
    Be daring when I talk
    Lately I have tried to be a wiser person and have wise thoughts and give wise advice. Here's how I'm doing that: I pretend like I'm on my own talk show or have a magazine column and I wonder what I would say to someone if other people were listening. When I do that, I'm surprised at how much wiser my words are and also with how much gentler my advice is. You should try this one. It'll change the hardwire in your brain and you'll surprise even yourself!

Read more from Kelly at her personal blog, Mocha Momma Manifesto: That Thing You Want to Say

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