December 31, 2015
And a Happy New Year
Looking back at the old year, we may be pleased with our accomplishments, but we also remember, all too clearly, our failures and disappointments. Another year older, we feel increasing pressure to reach our goals before it is too late.
With the best of intentions, we make those lists. Lose 10 pounds. Organize all the closets. Find a better job. Do Date Night every week. Finish the novel. Make love more often. Take a French cooking class.
Most people have stopped going to the gym by March or April. By the end of the year, the closets are still cluttered, the novel is now an unfinished short story, and the closest we've come to French cuisine is exclaiming "Voila!" as we open that bottle of champagne on New Year's Eve. The exhaustion and discouragement we feel from trying to do too much too soon probably aren't helping our marriage much, either. And there we are again on December 31st, swearing, "This time for sure!"
Here's the thing. January 1st is just an arbitrary day on the calendar. We don't have to plan the whole year right now. It's okay to do one thing at a time. In fact, it's usually better that way. We can take some time, think about our real needs and priorities, and set some realistic goals.
Instead of committing to all the changes we think we should make, we can start with one or two. Once we are comfortable with those, we can add something new. Or if one of those changes just isn't working, we can drop it and try something else.
I could easily make a list of 20, 25 or more things I "should" do in order to accomplish my goals and improve my life in 2016. But just thinking about that list raises my stress level and leaves me wondering how I'm going to find the time. Before I've even begun, I already feel that it's much too much and that I can't possibly get it all done.
Instead, I'm committing to just two changes for now, both health-related. I'm going to get up and walk two miles before breakfast every morning, weather and work permitting. I started last week, and it's easier than it might seem. Hubby often walks with me, so this is good for him, too. When we walk together, we eat breakfast together. That's nice.
I'm also planning some dietary changes. No, not a weight-loss diet! I'm simply going to make better choices at the grocery store and focus on healthier eating.
One more thing. I'm am resolved to be just a little bit kinder in the new year. (I've already started working on this, too.) Kindness can encompass many positive qualities, such as patience, generosity, gentleness, forgiveness, and empathy. The world really needs more kindness now. I hope everyone will join me in this resolution.