Resolution Reflections: a Review of 2017

Lifestyle Photos by Hope Nicole Photography, 2017

At the beginning of a New Year, as I craft my resolutions, I always spend some time reflecting on the previous year. 

At the beginning of 2017 I was feeling very fragile and vulnerable. While I made my usual categorized list of resolutions, I couldn't bring myself to share them. I couldn't share myself with the world at all for a while. I won't go into all the gory details, but the last half of 2016 and beginning of 2017 saw me facing some of the greatest challenges of my personal and professional life. People I had called friends turned away from me. Word came around that some of them had been gossiping about me, gleefully gushing all manner of horrible, condemning things that impugned my character and questioned my integrity. While others didn't join in the gossip, few actually came to my defence. I was sideswiped. 2017 was mop-up duty, PTSD panic attacks, and great emotional withdrawal in many ways. 

Me, with my youngest.
Healing is a gradual thing. Sometimes we don't realize how greatly the pain affects us and those around us until we've moved into a new season of hope. I'm so grateful to be in that season of hope now, entering 2018. My true friends are still beside me, our bonds stronger now than before. My family was battle-weary, but somewhere over the Christmas season a lightness began to buoy us up. I began to sleep well for the first time in 17 months. 

And while I didn't share it, my resolution theme last year was Constance. When I could control nothing else, I could work to control my own consistency. I worked on it in very small ways, very incremental ways. 

I determined to "have a focus on consistency and motivation even in the smallest things, and worry less about the "right now". Do what I can, as I can - but don't be put off by not seeing 'results' in the short term."  

I wrote that I would think about things in terms of the long game rather than short term. Become Holy by loving and serving in the little ways. Declutter a little each week with the goal of having a more streamlined life. Be as consistent as possible in spending quality time with family, self, God. Don't punish myself for failing and don't give up with a little failure that then compounds itself. Just start again with the little things. 

I decided to develop my mind by reading great books, painting, writing, singing and pushing myself to try new things. And I did. 

I decided it was time to love myself. It was time to let go of what anyone else had ever said or thought or intimated about me. That couldn't matter anymore. And I did.

I made goals to spend more time in nature, researching foraging and preserving techniques for wild medicinals.  And I did. 

Despite the great challenges that we faced, I look back on my year and I can see growth. I became stronger. I became more settled. I became more focussed on what was important. I became more thankful. 

I am so thankful.

And now, in the early days of a brand new year, I have an abundance of hope. I look at the journey ahead and I'm not afraid of the hard work. I'm not concerned about failing because I won't. Sure, there will be small failures. But I know that the things that matter will all be as they must.  I can't create any failure so big as to remove the grace that is already there.

Last year, I didn't nail every single one of my resolutions. Example? I didn't exercise last year. At all. I went on walks with my family, with my husband, with my dog, or just alone. But the former urge to make resolutions about getting in shape just wasn't there. It wasn't my priority.  

My priority boiled down to the thing that matters most. 

A friend of mine shared with me that in its early use, the word Priority was never plural. You can have only one Priority. One thing that is of Utmost Importance. We live in an age of plural priorities. Lists upon lists of priorities. Stress. Confusion about what really matters. No. Strip all that away. 


My priority for this upcoming year is to Nurture. 


My family.

My relationships.

My Faith. Trust. Hope. Love.

Without its proper focus, these things seem to fade behind the stresses of everyday life. But aren't they the only things that actually matter?