Be kind to your already-tired January soul

Hello there kind friend – thanks for stopping by!

I’m thinking of you today, and how you might already be tired with the resolutions, new calendars, and gizmos that were supposed to make this a great year. Are they working? I hope so. Maybe you’re the super-productive sort, that loves lists and can stick to a resolution all year long. I hope so. But maybe you’re like me, and it takes you a little bit into January to even decide on your resolutions, and honestly you don’t like calling them that. Maybe you’re a recovering perfectionist, and the word resolution makes your skin crawl! If so, read on…

The past couple of years I have enjoyed slowly setting goals for the upcoming year. I don’t want this to be a how-to-set-better-goals post, because lots of famous writers have done that better. But I will share what I am doing and how it is helping me feel good about making progress without crushing my soul.

It seems that life has been hard for us, for a while, and while a new season may be appearing over the horizon, I’ve learned to be kind to myself in the hardness. A mentor gave me that helpful phrase, in a season when all was well, and I am so grateful because it stuck and helped me when I really needed it! Being kind to yourself takes a while to learn, so be kind even in that. I like the phrase better than ‘love yourself’ because that has a ring of selfishness to it (just my opinion though). Kindness is a lost art, like letter writing, long walks and slow meals. We are an impatient sort, and we want to see results – now. Kindness takes time. Whether you are learning kindness towards yourself or others, be patient, the fruit will come. It often feels like nursing something back to life.

Kindness doesn’t choose me or you, it chooses honesty and soul care. Kindness waits and listens, it honors and cherishes, it enjoys the small things. Kindness is slow, like a dish marinating and wafting through the house. It leaves a gentle fragrance that will be remembered. It’s not fast or fancy, exciting or bold. But it lasts. It’s not the latest and greatest, but your soul will change. I’m giving kindness a second chance this year. You might say that’s my word for this year, kindness. I even bought a sweatshirt to remind me – Kindness Matters, it says. And it does, whether you’re learning to practice kindness towards yourself or towards another.

Kindness is also a practice – in every sense of the word. It might feel new and strange, this foreign ritual of slowing down, listening in, and caring for those warning signs that you’ve been ignoring. It might be scary – like walking into a room alone and not knowing where you’ll sit and if you’ll feel awkward the entire time. But eventually, you and kindness will become very good friends. She will keep you company during hard times, and build bridges when everything seems to be falling apart. But you must practice. Take your time, try new ways to be kind every day. Towards yourself, your family, anyone or anything that needs nurturing. Your soul is a valuable place to start. Reevaluate occasionally, but don’t judge and definitely don’t make it into a SMART goal. Just watch it grow in your heart, home, and happy places, until you see new life everywhere.

I’m hoping for a lot of new life this year, and kindness is the path I’m taking to get there. Will you join me?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Some additional thoughts for setting kind goals:

  • Take time to evaluate last year first – look through your online feeds, your photo books, your calendar – and get a feel for what happened, and where you want to go next.
  • Try quarterly goals instead.
  • Join in with friends.
  • Set one goal and then evaluate before setting another.
  • Choose a word.
  • Be kind to yourself if you fall behind.

May this new year bring hope, joy, and much kindness to your soul, life and home. For we serve a God who showed the greatest kindness to us and still does every day if we let Him in.

BONUS: Sweet New Year song by JJ Heller that will help you be kind to yourself!



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