15 Things I will Do Differently in 2015

I don’t do resolutions.

I haven’t been much of a resolution setter or keeper the last 5 years, so this post is not so much of setting resolutions. Rather, it is to re-align the changes to reflect the values that matter most to me for my life. My attitude towards these changes that I am planning to take is not about doing things to justify my self-worth, to give myself significance or create a sense of security.

Instead, these changes that I am planning to make revolves around two keywords that God have highlighted to me for 2015.

LoveRTT

These two keywords of Love and Redeem the Time will be the ‘fuel’ for the things that I am planning to do differently this year:

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1. Meet an old or new friend at least once a month.

These old or new friends will not include those that I meet weekly.

You might wonder why this is a big deal for me. Many friends noticed that I retreated into my ‘cave’ for the whole of 2014, and wondered what happened to me. Well, I am back! But it’s not the same Rachel anymore. This Rachel is back with renewed vigor, enthusiasm and hope. If you feeling down in the dumps and need a boost, you know who to call to meet :P

 

2. Make a point to talk to my parents on regular basis, to continue to show them respect and care.

I stay with my mom on the weekdays, so its easy to sit down to have a chat with her. However, with my dad, (whom I am not living with), I have to make that call regularly to meet for a meal or for coffee, just to find out how are things with him. The first half of 2013, I did not call him or speak to him for 6 months, so this has to change!

 

3. Message hb more regularly

Having a spouse that works overseas is not the easiest for me to maintain regular contact with. I don’t like to do Skype or talk on the phone (see point 2). So using phone chat apps are the best thing to have to maintain communication. This might come natural to others, but I do need to make a mental note to message or communicate with hb daily. Weird I know, but I have always been very independent, and before I got married, rather introverted. Probably would have remained an ‘old maid’ if I didn’t get stuck with him in my late teens.

 

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The Christian life is ever changing. A Christian has to be ever willing to make improvements in their character and attitudes, but never compromise their convictions or character.

4. Be a good example.

Live a life like a true Christian and not like a hypocrite, to always practice what I preach.

 

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One of the best paths to making changes in life, I believe, is to focus on self. Don’t focus on thinking that I can change my parents, my friend who is full of trouble or even my hb. How about the naysayers who gossip about me or have nothing good to say? Forget about changing what people think of me. I will just focus on becoming a better person.

5. Lay aside all malice, hypocrisy, envy and gossip.

Watch what comes out from my mouth. I can make the choice to say encouraging things to build up, or condemning words to tear down. Only speak about others with truth and love. I can be a very straight-forward person and I am aware that truth can sometimes hurt, so I need to be gentler and more cautious with the words I use.

 

6. Don’t crave for what others have or own, either through experience or through possessions.

 

7. Be friendly and smile more!

I used to have this frown in my face as I am deep in thought most of the time, but have started making this effort to smile or have this somewhat ‘gentler’ expression. So if eye contact is made, with a stranger, more than 80% of the time, I get a smile back, while 20% of the time I get a quizzical expression :P

 

8. Be Giving.  

Not just with money or things, but give my time to anyone who needs a listening ear, some advice or just be a friend.

 

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9. Write More!

My focus this year is to write more, starting with this blog. Less haphazardly, but with more focused topics that are in line with the mission statement of this blog; ‘Living Life with Meaning and Inspiration.’

 

10. Craft More!

The second half of 2014, I started crafting again, from where I left off a few years ago. This year I will have more reasons to craft ;) It will not just be sewing craft, but fuse beads and paper craft .

 

11. Draw and paint

I took up some lessons on watercolor painting last year and stopped after 10 lessons, due to the lack of time. I don’t plan to continue the lessons but I will spend some time experimenting on my own. Been longingly looking at the jar of watercolor brushes on my desk the last 8 months, and even went to Artfriend last week to buy some new brushes.  So it is time that I do something about it.

 

12. Write some more!

Not just through emails, FB messages or the phone. I will be spending more time writing to friends through snail mail, but not in the penpal sort of way. Maybe the hb will also get some snail mail coming his way :P I will be sharing more on #InHisLoveMail initiative on this blog soon.

 

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13. To be more consistent, especially when it comes to guiding the little boy with his schoolwork

I was not the most effective mom last year when it comes to guiding K in his studies. By December, his assessment books were barely 1/4 completed, and he only managed to complete another 1/4 of the assessment books during the school holidays, and the books ended up being thrown down the rubbish chute.

 

14. To be more disciplined to continue my sessions with K for the Ancient History curriculum, and also start on Creative Writing with him at home.

 

15.  To finally update this blog with more of the Home-Learning articles that was written in 2011-2013 from the old Home-Learning website.

Myplayschool.net, which is now defunct, is a trove of Home-Learning articles accumulated from the 3 years of maintaining the site. There was so much time spent writing these timeless tutorials and ideas, which I believe will be very beneficial for moms who are looking out for Home-Learning ideas to coach their preschoolers.

 

It’s a good thing I place a cap on the number of things that I want to do differently this year, if not, I think I could probably squeeze in at least 10 more! There is so much to do this year, albeit differently from last year. So here’s to a productive, meaningful and inspirational 2015 ahead!

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Next on the ’15 Things I will Do Differently in 2015′ Blog Train will be Irene of Singapore Mom Blogs

IreneSMBA former Flight Attendant who swapped wings for kids. This skinny mom of 3 proudly declares her addiction for food and refuses rehabilitation. She loves taking photos of food and believes that good food are meant to be shared. Even with her wings clipped, and kids in tow, she travels and writes about her family travel adventures. Irene is a professionally trained make up and nail artist who loves sharing tips on how to be a sassy mom.

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Blog Train : 15 or 5 Things I will Do Differently in 2015

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This Blog Train sounds very much like a listing of resolutions that we are planning to keep for 2015.

But it will not be just for resolutions. Some of us will be listing out resolutions to commit to improve our lives, while others, might be looking to be the enabler for some changes in our families this year.

If we desire improvements or positive changes in any area of our lives, taking this step to think differently could be the very thing to motivate the physical changes. Change will only start when we recognize the ways we need to improve or grow.

And this is coming from someone who has no problems with eating the same breakfast for many years in a row. So, to attempt to do 15 things differently this year will a big thing for me :)

So look out for the 34 different perspectives offered from 34 Singapore Mom Bloggers in the next 4 weeks. These posts might just motivate you to create some positive changes in your life and families for this year!

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Here are the blog posts lined up:

22 Jan  Right Here on this blog

23 Jan  Irene  http://singaporemomblogs.com

24 Jan  Jennifer http://www.dinomama.com/

25 Jan  Evelyn  http://evespiration.com/

26 Jan  Felicia  http://www.PrincessAndTheRock.com

27 Jan  Ruth  http://www.thepacifierdiaries.com

28 Jan  Waiwai http://www.peipeihaohao.com/

29 Jan  Winnie http://toddlymummy.blogspot.com

30 Jan  Dominique http://dominiquegoh.com

31 Jan  Danessa http://prayerfullmum.net

1 Feb  Pauline C http://journeytothebump.blogspot.com

2 Feb  Susan http://ajugglingmom.com

3 Feb  Cherie http://cherieladie.com

4 Feb  Michelle http://www.thechillmom.com

5 Feb  Ashley  http://www.mothersavenuesg.com

6 Feb  Jolin  http://the-js-arena.blogspot.sg

7 Feb   Christy  http://kidsrsimple.com/

8 Feb   Valery  http://www.homeonthestone.com/

9 Feb   Yanxiang http://www.thelittlestandusmakesthree.wordpress.com

10 Feb Angeline  http://simplymommie.com/

11 Feb  Lynn  http://www.lynnlly.com

12 Feb  Pauline W  http://mamabliss.blogspot.sg/

13 Feb  Rachael  http://jahbella.net

14 Feb  Summer  http://www.ahappymum.com

15 Feb  Estella  http://www.sooddlydreamlike.com

16 Feb  Cheryl  http://www.privikids.blogspot.sg

17 Feb  Agatha  http://www.greenissuessingapore.blogspot.com

18 Feb  Ashlyn  http://www.ashlynthia.blogspot.com

23 Feb  Mei Chee  http://www.finallymama.wordpress.com

24 Feb  Shermeen  http://www.meeningfully.com

25 Feb  Meiling http://www.universalscribbles.com/

26 Feb  Ting  http://miracule.blogspot.sg/

27 Feb  Angelia  http://growinghearts123.wordpress.com/

28 Feb  Hui Ing  http://ingspirations.com





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Avoiding the Social Media Trap

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A couple of weeks ago, I did an Instagram giveaway for one of my handmades.

So I just went through the motion of asking people to share my post on Instagram, so as to qualify for an entry in the giveaway. Coupled with the requirement of being a follower of my Instagram feeds. One of the Instagram accounts that I am connected to recently did a giveaway, so I blindly followed suit thinking it will be nice to have more followers.

Right after the giveaway winners were drawn, items mailed out to the winners. Then it dawned on me.

Why will I need more followers?

I have never planned to monetize this blog, so having more followers on my social media channels or readers to this blog don’t make a difference. In fact, from last year, I have ceased taking on product or service reviews and I have been turning down invitations for any launch or event.

So why have I stopped doing reviews or to cover activities that benefit my child or the family?

I am embarking on an effort to simplify my family life. You can say that I am depriving my child of being exposed to ‘new and fun experiences’, but I am leading the way for him to learn that joy and contentment doesn’t just come from external stimulation or experiences, but true contentment and joy comes from Who we are spending time with, and NOT What we are seeking it from.

The other reason is, I do not wish to participate in any form of activity that measures this blog or the ‘performance’ of my social media channels.

As a blogger, I think it’s all too easy to fall into this social media trap, where most look to our blogging metrics to define our self-worth in terms of what we think we have accomplished in the blogging world; though our blogging reach, social media followers, or from awards.

The recent reported spat between 2 popular lifestyle bloggers was a good example. So what does it mean to be a ‘top blogger’? If we look beyond the nice-to-haves; being paid to blog or not having to fork out money for some things. Popularity from the blog, or any form of success that we see from our pursuits, do tend to feed the ego.

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I think this quote by Henri Nouwen puts it very aptly, how our ego can be our greatest enemy;

When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers. That means we are not only in the world, but also of the world. Then we become what the world makes us. We are intelligent because someone gives us a high grade. We are helpful because someone says thanks. We are likable because someone likes us. And we are important because someone considers us indispensable. In short, we are worthwhile because we have successes. And the more we allow our accomplishments — the results of our actions — to become the criteria of our self-esteem, the more we are going to walk on our mental and spiritual toes, never sure if we will be able to live up to the expectations which we created by our last successes. In many people’s lives, there is a nearly diabolic chain in which their anxieties grow according to their successes. This dark power has driven many of the greatest artists into self-destruction. – Henri Nouwen

 

I realized that as we age, we have less and less opportunities to experience the feeling of success from what we do, and social media can often give the instant gratification and re-create the feeling of success. It’s the same kind of feeling that we get from positive evaluation of good results, thank you-s from others, or having a popular blog. This immediate feedback of LIKES, Shares and hits on the blog and social media posts, not only gives a value to what we do online, but eventually who we are.

So what does it mean after saying these things?

I think metrics are good indicators of how we are performing on a certain task, in this case, blogging or interaction on social media. However, these metrics or the popularity of your blog or following can’t be the focus of your self-worth or success.

Our self-worth, is shaped by the mundane things that we do, the daily decisions that we make as a mom, wife, daughter, sister and a friend. Getting approval from others from what we write on a blog or through social media, isn’t going to provide us with a sudden revelation of self-discovery.

Self-worth is formed through the slow prodding journey that we take towards being a person of value.

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As for what this means for my blogging journey?

I will continue write about what I am able to see beyond what’s right in front of me, finding meaning and faith to this thing called life.

I will still do giveaways on this blog, on Facebook or Instagram. But the focus will be through sharing  ideas, joy and hope with others, or simply just giving away what I have hand-made or things that I like.

So even if it is just 5 or 50 people reading this blog, I am encouraged to keep on writing in this space.

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