Stop Just Existing...Remember to Live!

December 30, 2013


To welcome in 2014, regular LBBC blog contributor Ronda Walker Weaver shares her positive thoughts on the new year and tips on how to set realistic and attainable goals as your resolutions. 

When I was newly married, trying to make a happy life and comfortable home on minimum wage jobs, a friend shared this message with me - "Sometimes we are so busy existing that we forget to live." I decided I would make this my motto and do some living every day.

Well - life does get in the way of living sometimes, and we often just have to endure to make it through the discouraging day, depressing week, disheveled month. And really, existing sometimes takes all the energy a person has. I should know - correct? These past 2 1/2 years have certainly been more about existing than about living. I'm alive, although quality of life does come into play. But multiple surgeries, cancer treatments, and residual side effects can only control me to a certain point.

As I've mentioned before, this healing time has also been a time of grief for me; the grief I've felt has touched me to the depths of my soul - I've grieved the loss of me, the loss of the could-haves. But I refuse to linger there, standing in that murky pool of water called existing. I'm moving forward, perhaps slowly, but pushing, one wader in front of the other; the stream is calling, the fresh water called living bids me onward.

And with this new year upon me, I am focusing my intentions on what is upstream! I can't wait to dip my toes into this new stream called 2014. My simple New Years resolutions are to live, to be excited about living.

A good goal may contain these elements:

  1.  Attainable - "Be kind to my spouse this year" may be unattainable, but "Work at being kinder to my partner" is doable.
  2.  Positive - Don't trash talk your goals. Our mind hears positives, so perhaps "Eat healthy foods" rather than "Don't eat so much junk food" is a better goal.
  3. Goals should be for the individual - "Make my boss understand me," probably won't work, because it's not about you. Whereas, "Work on my communication skills" is about you.
  4. Action-oriented - "Ponder on the gifts of life" isn't really measurable. Yet, "List 3 things a day I'm grateful for," is achievable.
  5. Trackable - Break your goals into edible pieces. "Lose weight" is tough to track, and if you wait until November to begin that goal, you may be disappointed. So instead, "Lose 2 pounds a month," or "Exercise 45 minutes 3 times a week," may be within your reach (remember, keep it positive, so do not say, "Don't gain weight this year").
  6. Specific - "Write a novel" may be a worthy goal, but can you do it? How about "January - build an outline, February - set a list of characters, May - break outline into chapters"?
  7. Bring Happiness - Set goals that make you roll-out of bed with happiness rather than dread! "Live in joy each day," may bring with it a positive twist rather than "Never be grouchy."
  8. Flexible - Remember you have the right to start your day, week, month, year over at any time. Just because you didn't get that outline finished in January doesn't mean you should throw away your book goal. Don't get discouraged - tomorrow is a new day.

Now remember the saying, "A goal not written down is only a wish"? So write those goals down, share them with someone who can "help" you be accountable, rather than "hold" you to accountability. And then begin!

My goals for 2014 include:

  • Be excited about today and tomorrow
  • Smile a little longer
  • Say, "I love you"
  • Do something uncomfortable
  • Dance a little (I'm having a Wii dance party for my birthday in January!)
  • Be calm, remove anxiety
  • Show gratitude, if only in thoughts and prayers
  • Be kinder to myself, to my body - I am a walking miracle

I'm not sure which streams I may "find myself" in this new year, but I will embrace what comes my way, learn my lessons well, and pack a few of those into knapsack, and travel on, living -

My New Year's toast to you, my friends - May you be found with a handful of happiness, a simple solution to problems, and comfort in your chaos.

Ronda is 54 years old. She was diagnosed with breast cancer on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. She went through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. She teaches folklore and writing at Utah Valley University and works for an online education company, LearningU. She is using her recovery time to read, listen to music, garden, walk, play with her grandchildren, children, and enjoy her dear husband – who has been her pillar of strength through her journey. She also writes her own blog called Folklady’s Adventures.

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