Making room

Here's the New Year lookin' at you; image from

Here it comes, ready or not – The New Year is staring at us, peeking over the fence and waving.  For some this feels like the taunt of an unwelcome relative whose presence at the door brings heartburn and heartache. For others it’s a time to think about what to do differently.  What’s new? What’s coming? What’s exciting?

Newscasters are busy recapping the year, commentators are working to highlight the biggest stories, biggest scandals, biggest disasters, biggest whatevers. Yawn.

I’m taking a page out of my own book and revisiting where I was last year at this time .. and I’m not making a single resolution.   Too much pressure with too few results, in my experience.

It’s far more productive for me to just say “no” to what I don’t want to do, what’s not good for me, or what takes me away from what really counts.

Saying no takes effort, especially for me, a people pleaser, organizer of the fun and keeper of the peace.

Saying “no” has allowed more yes-es in my life.  Stopping myself from doing what I’ve always done allows room for unexpected and unplanned delights.

Saying no feels foreign, but I’m getting better at it.   Here’s the rub:  it doesn’t even need to be spoken.  It can be our little secret.

I know that this can’t apply to every category in life, it’s not practical.

But .. rather than beat myself up about failing at an unrealistic goal, I’m quietly continuing the personal progress I’ve made this year and carrying it forward into the next.

I’ve cleared out the clutter in my life so I can do what’s important to me.

I’ve stopped maintaining relationships that aren’t healthy.  Doing so has made more room for the ones that are.

I’ve gone to bed earlier, and looked better,  than the results any diet ever delivered.

I’ve faced fears, spoken up and taken on new things; these efforts have energized me more than any $100 skin care product possibly could.

I’ve stopped trying to do it all, be it all, fix it all for everyone else. I’ve started doing what matters… to me.

I'm taking a more relaxed view of the New Year ... bring on the pink pants, lose the cigar.

“Your closet should contain 3 categories of clothing: clothes you love, clothes that fit you now, and clothes that garner you compliments whenever you wear them.”  Peter Walsh, organizational expert.

Couldn’t the same rule be applied to relationships?  Look around.  The people you’ve kept close – do they “fit and flatter you?” Do you love spending time with them? Do they complement your life, your personality, your goals and your mindset?  Or are you reaching for the same old shlumpy dumpy mess because they’re familiar and comfortable?

Making room – it’s not just for closets anymore.

Happy New Year, friends.

Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Holidays, Life, News, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

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41 thoughts on “Making room

  1. So true. All true. Learning the same lessons…now gently. I’ve spent an awful lot of time in my life being so hard on myself…these last few years have been better and better! Only one ‘toxic’ relationship left…and I’m very related to her, so I’ve got to manage it {find a little shoe box for it if you will} and not toss it entirely. LOVE the closet metaphor!

  2. I think I will print the closet metaphor and frame it!!! It could end up being my mantra for 2012!!! Thanks for sharing! Wishing you a year fthat complements your life, your personality, your goals and your mindset? And I am wishing the same for me…

    • Yaya! You are welcome to do so; I’m glad it moved you. We all tend to be so hard on ourselves; imagine what we could do if we gave ourselves the leeway we so easily give everyone else?

      Hugs to you NOLA girl,

  3. Have a great 2012.

  4. I never thought of saying no as a path to freedom. This people pleaser needs to take some lessons. Thank you! Have a blessed New Year! Karin

  5. Brilliance, MJ! Thank you.

  6. Good thoughts, MJ. I agree that saying “no” can be seem so difficult in this day and age — it’s as if you’re expected to do anything someone asks you, regardless of your own desires.

    Here;s to being true to ourselves and focusing on those things that make us better.

    • Yes – that’s exactly it, Steve. It’s amazing what happens when we realize that saying “no” can be a catalyst for change. When we set down the bag of last year’s disappointments, we open our arms to receiving the bag of goodness that’s waited in the wings for just the right moment.

      Happy New Year!

  7. love it! here’s to a happy new year :). Love the new header, too!

  8. Clearly I have been missing out by not visiting your blog sooner. I know you read mine from time to time, but somehow I have managed to miss yours. I’m so sorry about that–as it has been my loss.

    Love your writing! Thanks for the comments you have left me. I’m going to subscribe!


    • Well, thank you very much for your kind thoughts and for subscribing; I appreciate your visiting and am glad to know you’ll be back!


  9. alanamokma

    DAAAAANG, mama! This is one of my favorite posts of yours, yet! Probably because I can relate to it so closely and it is kicking me in the butt. Until I read your post, I was not really looking forward to the New Year because it DOES seem to always be the season of new beginnings that last… oh, about a month or two. Then I feel crappy again. I love how you are taking the baby steps of learning to say “No.” I am working on this exact thing myself. I can ESPECIALLY relate to what you spoke of on relationships. There are some that I have worked really hard to maintain, and really the only return on investment was to have my life sucked out of me.

    I have enjoyed this post so much it will be shared on my FB and Twitter accounts. Thanks for your thoughts, MJ! 🙂

    • I’m so glad, Alana. When we give ourselves permission to step back and do what’s right for us, we create the life we’ve always dreamed of. It’s been there all along but I’ve learned I have had to work just as hard to let go what doesn’t work for me … and be patient to wait & see what comes in… and what’s worth keeping.

      All the best to you and Josh in the New Year and always,

    • Alana, thanks so much for posting a link to this on Facebook. MJ, great post! Working on relationships is one of my goals for 2012. Putting everything into a relationship and getting no or minimal work from another person is frustrating. It truly sucks the life out of you. I’ve tried talking to a few friends about it and they think I’m overreacting, not appreciating them, or just making things up. This year will be hard, but I’ll come out better and more free in the end.

      • I’m glad you visited, Skye. I’ve learned along the way that pushing back and de-cluttering makes room for what matters. Sometimes I’ve had to Lysol the friendship cupboard; sometimes few remained. Instead of panicking, I’ve learned to breathe into it and have faith at what’s to come … We all deserve relationships that uplift and flatter us.


  10. cooper

    right now it feels is if shlumpy dumpy will continue to rule into the new year…but maybe change will come. Actually change will’s inevitable…what those changes are is the mystery.

    i will keep visiting here if for no other reason (and there are many other reasons) than to remind myself of the benefits of being positive. Have a wonderful 2012.

  11. Great ideas, MJ. Happy New Year sans resolutions.

  12. Wonderful philosophy! Being and feeling your best has a positive effect on those around you too. Sounds like you are on a great path. I think it’s a good idea to keep on doing what you’re doing.

  13. You always teach me, MJ. At least you try! Happy New Year – I’m going to try to take your advice.

  14. Pingback: Hopes and Wishes for 2012 | jeanne's blog…a nola girl at heart

  15. Great post, MJ! Happy New Year to you and I’m glad you feel better than one year ago. Isn’t it amazing how life can change so much in one year, for the better? Congrats to you!

    • Thanks and yes, that is so very true. I really feel great today and am looking forward to see what’s coming :). Hope you’re on the mend, MJ

  16. NO. Only one lousy syllable consisting of two letters. And still it can be hard to say it. And make clear you mean it!
    Great post MJ, inspiring. But I won’t say no to your wisdom 😉
    Have a happy year.

    • I agree; practice makes perfect. I’m getting better at it. Just today, I said “no” to taking down the tree. Today’s my last day off before going back “to it” and I’d rather play with the hubbs than put away ornaments. We’re going out for a leisurely lunch just because … we can.

      Cheers! MJ

  17. I love this post, MJ! I don’t make resolutions either…

    Happy New Year to you!


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