New Year's Resolutions

Last December 31st, I made a list of 16 New Year’s resolutions, and a 2015 “motto” as well. I was super into the idea that a new year is a totally fresh start and that January 1st was an ideal time to start living my life differently. I even wrote them on a giant sheet of neon paper and hung them on my wall. Today I found these 16 resolutions as I was thinking about the beginning of next year, and decided to review each of them and see how I did. Commence the recap of my 2015 (mostly highs, who wants to dwell on lows?).

1. Have a better relationship with God; set aside prayer/devotional time. Learn to trust Him fully in every situation.

This should be a resolution every day. I know this is something that every Christian struggles for...the guilt that we aren’t reading our Bibles enough or that we feel dead in our faith sometimes. I’m trying to think back on how my spiritual life was this past year and I definitely remember times of darkness and deadness. But my relationship with God was also incredibly fruitful this year; I had a summer of peace and reflection, Bible-reading and writing. I started a habit back in January of remembering to pray before every meal, no matter where I was or who I was with. This habit reminds me to pray when I would normally forget, pray about anything, mostly not about my food. Thankful to God for a year growing with Him.

2. Have a better relationship with my family.

Honestly, this is something I’ve struggled with for a while. It’s hard to be a teenager, the oldest in the family (so therefore the parenting guinea pig), and have 5 younger siblings. It was a little hard for me to recover my relationships when I moved out, but I have been so at peace with my improvement in that area this year. This summer I hardly saw my family because I was working so much, but especially this Thanksgiving and Christmas break have been so good getting to spend time with and re-get-to-know my brothers. Thankful to God for a year of growth in love for those with whom He has blessed me.

3. Learn who I am outside of needing other people’s love. Be more secure in who I am.

Woah, this is a lofty goal...and definitely not something that can be fully accomplished in one year. I think especially starting this summer and first semester of my sophomore year, I have done a lot better with this. It is so freeing to find my identity in my art and my work and most importantly, in my Creator. Thankful to God for a year of joy and finding security in the person He made me to be.

4. Make new girl friends to whom I can minister and love.

Thank you, God, for the outcomes of the goal. Last January/February I found out that my best friend, Natalie, was transferring schools and became very sad and lonely...and realized that I needed to start branching out of my introverted hole and realize that not all girls are judgmental and awful. I made one of my best friends in the entire world and now-roommate, Cammi (who I love to death), just by asking her to coffee...and how fruitful and amazing that has been. I focused on two important girl friendships over the summer, and this semester have been very intentional with asking girls to coffee and have made some wonderful memories learning about others’ lives in meaningful ways.

5. Learn to find peace in every situation, and not thrive on the stress that runs my life.

Once again, what a lofty goal (ambitious, 2014 Mandy…). I would say this is the one I need to work the most on still. It is so difficult for me because I do thrive on stress...this fall break was the worst ever because I had nothing to do and I so desperately wanted a to-do list and an agenda. I’m gonna need to learn to thrive on peace instead of stress.

6. Work on being a better friend.

I hope I’ve done well with this. I have no idea, honestly. I try so hard to be less self-centered; I truly do care about my close friends enough to do practically anything for them. I’ve made some great new friends this year that I value so very much. I do have my days, but hey, doesn’t everyone? ;)

7. Become a better guitar player.

Eh. maybe. ;) I did get the experience of playing guitar in my band a little...still got some bar chords to learn and some picking strategies to nail. But hey I got a new guitar for Christmas so maybe that’ll motivate me!

8. Learn how to play ukulele (and buy one).

Check. My uke, Ingrid, is my pride and joy.

9. Save money. Set up a budget.

Failure. Well...I did save $7,000 over the summer and paid for school. But since then, food is too tempting. I can’t. Basically, in Greenville, going out to eat is socialization time so if you want a social life you must spend money. Oops.

10. Write at least 25 new songs.

Check. 32. Pretty proud of that actually, since I’m a pretty slow songwriter. Thanks for the pressure, Singer/Songwriter lab.

11. Get a nose piercing.

Nailed it. Thanks to my roommate Camilia for doing it with me and for the emotional support. Side note: we’d only known each other for like a week when we did it together.

12. Get all A’s, but not let it matter so much.

Well...half accomplished. I pulled out the 4.0 at the last second very barely this semester...but I definitely let it matter a lot (many tears later). Ah well. Much to work on.

13. Write 20 more blog posts.

Wow, huge fail. This will be my 9th from this year. But hey, bonus points to me for getting a new website with a cool blog...and starting a daily quotes blog...and a poetry blog...that counts right?

14. Read more and improve vocabulary.

Well. I definitely read more than I did last to read an awesome novel (The Time Traveler’s Wife) this summer, as well as some awesome poetry all year in multiple classes and at my job at the library (shout out to my new favorite poet, Billy Collins). This semester I read some pretty cool philosophical and theological works too. I don’t know about the improved vocabulary...I use the rhyming dictionary and thesaurus a lot?

15. Discover 3 new artists.

At least two? I listen to a ton of Ingrid Michaelson as of this year, and have recently gotten into 21 Pilots. I guess that’s it. I’m so lamely addicted to Sara and Taylor, what can I say?

16. Know that failing any of these goals doesn’t mean I’m loved any less and doesn’t mean I’m a failure. It means I get a new chance to be a new person everyday by God’s grace.

This is so great. I am so glad 2014 Mandy chose to include this in my resolutions. Every time I felt like I failed any of these (especially 1-6) I remembered that I was blessed with the opportunity of a new day. That grace is new every morning. What a beautiful, beautiful story.

When I first started writing this blog, I had no idea how it was gonna turn out by the end...but in conclusion, I’ve had a great year. 2015 was a time of growing up and learning; learning what it means to be mature, and who I am in Christ. I am filled with gratitude as I look forward to a new year of fruitful learning and loving friends and new art and even more growth. As far as 2016 resolutions, I’ve just got one: don’t feel the need to have resolutions. God has great plans for my 2016 that He will present in His time, and I can’t wait to take joy in whatever highs and lows He has for me.