As 2016 is coming to a close, I am reflecting on my personal journey over the past year. What did I achieve? What impact did I leave? Did I meet any goals? Like most years, I was hesitant to make any New Year’s Resolutions since I typically fail to follow through on them. However, for 2016, I decided to set one goal and one goal only: remember birthdays and make them special for loved ones. Specifically speaking, I desired to have gifts for my immediate family and close circle of 4-5 girlfriends, cards for the Aunts/Uncles/Cousins and other dear friends, and at least send meaningful texts to the rest. I will be completely open with you when I say that I am not great at keeping up with friends. I truly dislike talking on the phone and even texting is more often a chore than not. My Facebook game is also not what it used to be. Therefore, you can only assume how many birthdays went unnoticed to me in the past few years. The ironic part is that I 100% expect everyone I know to remember mine. (It is fairly easy to remember 8/8/88, right?!) I proudly claim Gifts as one of my two primary love languages and really feel a sense of appreciation and affection from things as minute as a birthday card. So why have I been so terrible at reciprocating that love to others on THEIR special days? Although I could never quite find an answer to that question, I did decide to take steps toward resolving the issue. What steps, you ask…
It all began with the Erin Condren planner I got for Christmas. I compiled a list of family and friends whose birthdays I REALLY did not want to forget. I then wrote down their names on stickers and marked their birthdays onto the yearly calendar. Upon my next trip to Target I found a few cards I liked and bought a BUNCH of them to have on hand. If you’re like me, finding a good card is literally half the battle.
So, I took some steps and bought some cards, but how did I actually do in reaching my Resolution? Quite frankly, pretty bad at first. I missed my sister-in-law’s birthday right off the bat and got into a habit of sending off cards/gifts too late so that they were received after the recipient’s birthday. I also stopped looking at my planner about mid-February which left me completely lost. Several friends didn’t get any acknowledgement from me. It wasn’t until about halfway through the year that I decided to start being really intentional with my goals. I set artificial dates for getting gifts in the mail and really focused on making sure my loved ones were truly feeling loved by me. If I went shopping, I would see items and think, “So-and-so would love this!” This not only had me prepared months in advance for upcoming birthdays, but saved me time and money in the long run.
I know that not everyone feels loved through receiving gifts the way I do, but I think most people would agree that physical gestures outside of a “HBD” Facebook post really mean a lot. And just thinking that I had a part in making someone’s day just a little more special turned out to be a gift for me as well.
I’m happy to say that I ended out the year on a really high note. I hope to build on my momentum going into 2017 and keep improving on ways to look outside myself. If you typically don’t have any resolutions I would challenge you to do this with me. You’ll never regret the effort put into strengthening and restoring relationships.