My oldest has sucked her thumb since she was a baby. When she was an infant, I put a sock over her hand while she napped, hoping it would help break the habit early on. I walked in to check on her and she was sucking on it THROUGH THE SOCK. After a while, I realized she was rubbing the tag of her blanket and sucking her thumb as the same time. When she was four, I took her blankie away (and I cried) hoping that would break the habit. Walked in one day and she had her hand in the back of her pants, holding the tag, thumb in mouth, conked out while sitting at her table mid-tea party. So, I cut all the tags out of all her clothes and off all her animals. Hoping it would help. Then I brought in the big guns- Mavala. A nasty liquid to paint on her nail. Believe me, it is HORRIFIC tasting. Then she started sucking on other fingers. I painted those. Then she just sucked on her thumb anyway. One night I was painting the Mavala on, and she said to me “You can paint my nails but then I will suck my fumb anyway”. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, she decided to start biting her nails. She would bite them to nubs and keep biting. “Get your fingers out of your mouth” I would say. I was starting to think I should record myself saying it and just play it on repeat daily. This orthodontic mom has been internally screaming for nine. years. straight. I even forced a paci on Capely when she was born after seeing her suck her thumb on the ultrasound. “You can throw a paci away, but you can’t cut a thumb off. And I’m not going through this thumb crap again” is what I said.
My daughter is 9.5 now. She came into the room the other day while I was clipping everyone’s nails and asked me to trim hers. I rolled my eyes, because WHAT NAILS. I looked at her hands and to my utter shock and surprise- she had nails. Not just nubs- like legit nails, and they were beautiful! She giggled at my response and surprise, and told me “Now I can scratch your back”. NOW YOU’RE TALKIN.
I decided to go on and trim them today. As I was trimming, I asked Mecaden why she stopped biting her nails. She said her braces made it harder- they got in the way, and with her teeth being sore from adjustments, she couldn’t bite into a cracker, let alone her hard nails. I should have put braces on her when she was three (kidding. sort of.) Then I asked her about her thumb. I knew it had slowed down to where she only sucked on her thumb at night when she was asleep and didn’t realize it. But today, she told me she stopped. I asked her why, and she said “because I wanted to”. She wore a sock over her hand for a month to break herself if the habit. I was surprised, and pleased.
New Year’s Eve is tomorrow. Millions of people will make resolutions based off of things they either need to stop, or start. But if they are counting on their resolution to carry them through but there is no heart change- it is likely that when the rubber meets the road, they will fall flat on their faces.
That’s not to say we won’t fumble when we try to change. We are human. We resolve to go to the gym four days a week. We have a heart change. We want to do it. But life happens, kids get sick, you get stuck with handling all the preparations for your son’s class party, or gosh darn it, you’re FREAKING TIRED. You skip a day. Then that turns to two days. Then a week. A friend comes in from out of town and you were planning on going to the gym but you haven’t seen her in six years. So you skip the gym and go get dinner and drinks with her. You know what? That’s okay. All of that is okay. Unless you let the reasons become excuses. And stop all together.
You can have the best of intentions. But if there is no heart change or accountability, you’re likely to give up at some point or another.
As New Year’s is fast approaching, consider this quote from one of my favorite movies- The Patriot. Gabriel Martin, son of Benjamin Martin, had joined the rebellion to fight the British. The enemy captured Gabriel, so Benjamin and his other sons set off to get him back. Benjamin stationed his sons at different points to ambush the British. To his son, Thomas, he reminds him to do what he was taught- “Aim small, miss small”. The idea from back in that era, when muskets had an accuracy range of 75 yards at best. If you aimed for a button or buckle, meaning the target was in close range, you’ll likely miss the button, but still hit the man. If you aimed at the man in general, you’ll likely miss.
You may need to stop a lot of things. You may need to stop drinking, stop smoking, stop eating fast food. And start many more. Working out, drinking water, eating vegetables, cook at home. But if you aim big and try to do it all right away, you’re going to miss. Stopping everything all at once while starting everything new at the same time- you’re going to start off strong, but it’s going to be very hard to keep up. Who is to say you can’t add to resolutions through the year? Instead of setting the bar to near impossible standards, aim small. And add to it. Maybe choose a different way to make your resolution. For example: “I resolve to cut out drinking in January, drink five glasses of water a day, and start going to the gym two days a week. In February, I will cut out smoking, and go to the gym three days a week. In March, I will replace two fast food meals a week with home cooked, health meals, and go to the gym four days a week.” Don’t give up drinking, smoking, fast food, sugar, carbs, and fats cold turkey and go to the gym 7 days a week for two hours a day. You. Will. Burn. Out. Really fast. You didn’t get to where you are overnight, you cannot fix it overnight. Give yourself small goals you can both reach and build on. Can’t give up fast food easily? Start with replacing your fries (the HORROR) at CFA with the broccolini and kale superfood side (I kinda just threw up in my mouth a little bit). Or replace your sweet tea with water. Baby steps! I went to the gym the last two nights in a row and can barely move. I just finished a grilled chicken salad… and am currently polishing off an oreo milkshake. It’s called balance.
As you think about your resolutions, I would encourage you to make them with these things in mind:
- Aim small, miss small
- Make resolutions you can achieve and build on
- Find accountability. As with anything in life, having someone to check in on you and encourage you is invaluable
- Remember Grace. Know you will get tired. Expect it. Learn to rest, not quit
I think we are all ready for 2016 to peace out. As long as it doesn’t take Betty White with it. See y’all in 2017!
From my trench to yours,
*I used working out as my example for resolutions- mainly because its a very common resolution. Your resolution my be to read 12 books in 12 months. Or to volunteer at a homeless shelter every month. Or to spend less time on social media. Or maybe you don’t have one. And that’s okay. Maybe you hate resolutions. But I’m willing to bet there is something you hope is different in 2017. Let me be the first to encourage you: go for it. Learn to save your money (“Never spend your 5s is my motto!). Go on Date Nights once a month. Tell your best friend about your suicidal thoughts. Ask for help with your newborn, colicky baby. Cut ties with that toxic relationship. Go to that counselor. Dye your hair pink. Get a tattoo (I have a guy if you need a Raleigh referral!). Read the Bible all the way through in a year (Need a reading plan so you know where to start? Click here.) Whatever you do (or don’t do), make sure that the result will be a healthy you. Physically, mentally, spiritually, relationally. You don’t have to benchpress a Buick to be healthy.