Midnight has come and gone. The parties are over. It’s a brand new year!
Unfulfilled New Year’s Resolutions
Many people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve; a list of things to change and goals for the year. There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to change your life or set goals for the year. I used to make a list of resolutions each year. One year as Valentine’s Day approached I realized that not only had I not started anything on my list but I didn’t even know where the list was anymore. Since then I haven’t bothered writing down any resolutions.
Thinking about the types of things I put on my list of New Year’s resolutions I now realize why I failed to carry out even one of them most years. I filled my list with things so big that only a giant could step far enough to complete them: lose weight, get rich, get married, buy a car, buy a house, get my degree, get a job I love, and be happy. There isn’t anything wrong with that list except that they’re all long-term goals. I never did figure out what small steps I’d need to take for each of them to actually happen. I never even defined what some of them meant. Without drawing a trail map and determining exactly what I was looking for how could I check off anything on my New Year’s resolutions list? I couldn’t. So for years I just floated from one year to the next.
Changing My Outlook
A few years ago I felt stuck. Life wasn’t at all what I’d thought it would be; it didn’t resemble any of my dreams. Events pushed me off the path I was on and caused me to lose my balance and tumble down the hill. Unlike Jack, I landed slightly bruised but unbroken. I shakily stood and looked around.
I landed in a meadow decorated with colorful wildflowers and tall grasses. A stream meandered through it and trees with birds singing in their branches provided a shady place to rest. I realized I could be happy here. New opportunities waited for me, things that before I couldn’t see because I was too busy walking with my head down making sure I didn’t stumble. It didn’t work, I fell anyway. It was time to do some soul-searching.
I came across this quote and the positive feelings have stayed with me.
The Way I See It #58 I have faith. Faith in our wondrous capacity for hope and good, love and trust, healing and forgiveness. Faith in the blessing of our infinite ability to wonder, question, pray, feel, think, and learn. I have faith. Faith in the infinite possibilities of the human spirit. — James Brown Emmy-winning sportscaster and co-host of FOX NFL Sunday
I’m going to have faith, just like James Brown said. At the very least, my life will be better because of it.
Later, I read a blog post by Debbie Macomber, one of my favorite authors, about choosing a word or phrase that will embody your goals and life for the year. Last year was the first time I tried it. My word was diligence. Looking back over 2013 I can see how in almost every aspect of my life I was diligent, especially with my writing.
My Word For 2014
It surprised me how thinking positively and applying a single word to the things I chose to do made such a difference in my life last year. So this year I’ve decided to continue having faith and to choose a new word. I’ve listened, thought about, and waited for my word. It came just a couple of days ago. My word for 2014 is renew.
From the Oxford Dictionary
renew |riˈn(y)o͞o| verb [ with obj. ]
– resume (an activity) after an interruption: the parents renewed their campaign to save the school.
– re-establish (a relationship): he had renewed an acquaintance with McCarthy.
– repeat (an action or statement): detectives renewed their appeal for those in the area at the time to contact them.
– give fresh life or strength to: (as adj. renewed) : she would face the future with renewed determination.
– extend for a further period the validity of (a license, subscription, or contract): her contract had not been renewed.
– replace (something that is broken or worn out): check the joints—they may need renewing.
I’m looking forward to finding new ways to renew my life this year. The first thing I’m going to renew is my daily schedule. Does each item on it help me meet my goals or make me happier. If it does then I’ll keep it, if not I’ll find something to replace it with that will. What I really like about choosing a word is that you can’t possibly apply it to your life in one day. It’s okay if it takes a year, or longer, to fully embrace the word’s essence–all I have to do is try today and try tomorrow.
In the comments tell me if you made New Year’s resolutions or chose a word for 2014? What’s on your list? What’s your word and what does it mean to you? I’d love to hear from you. — Jillian