I have always loved lists, brainstorming, organizing ideas, and the like. New Year’s resolutions are the ultimate strategic plan for nerds like me, and I look forward to them each year. The excitement I feel when jotting down notes in a new year’s planner is what I imagine other women feel when getting a pedicure.
As I look ahead to 2018, I’ve made a personal resolution to speak affirming words to the people I love, most notably, my husband and children. My words are powerful, and I want them to hear me declaring how much they matter.
I’m choosing this as my new year’s resolution because it’s so important, but sharing words of affirmation does not come naturally to me. It is much easier for me to tell my husband, “Hey, thanks for cooking dinner. I love you,” than to say, “I see how hard you work to support our family and how gentle you were with the kids today when they were upset. You’re a good man.” I know it will take some extra effort and creativity to remind myself to keep my resolution a reality, so here are a few things I’m doing:
I purchased myself simple bracelets to represent each of my five young kids. Throughout the day the bracelets serve as a visual reminder to me to affirm them, especially as it’s easy to get so focused on correcting and corralling them. I start with all five bracelets on my right wrist in the morning. When I share with them something positive that they did, I move the corresponding bracelet to my left wrist. If it’s a really good day they make it back to the right side again!
Already I’ve found myself saying things like, “I saw you helping your little sister with her cereal this morning. You’re a really great big brother to her and a helper to me too.” They always receive affirmations like this with a smile and stand a little taller afterward. I hope that each time I look them in the eyes and speak these truths to them, they feel surer of who they are.
I’m doing something a little different for my husband. Since he is away from home during the day, we talk mostly via text. I decided that setting an alarm on my phone would be the best way to remember to speak affirming words to him. I vary the alarm times so that my texts won’t become too routine.
In the past, when I’ve taken time to specify the things about him I love and am grateful for, like how great he is at telling the kids bedtime stories or choosing healthy foods for our family, he feels appreciated and valued. I think he will appreciate my affirming words despite the fact that initially I need an alarm to be reminded to use them.
My plan for 2018 will be to grow in love by sharing how I feel about the people closest to me.