Monday, January 6, 2014

a brand new year.

I may have mentioned this before but I love the way the holiday season begins in November with an opportunity to be reminded to be grateful for and aware of our blessings. Then comes Christmas with an emphasis on service, charity, and brotherly kindness. And then we’re given a chance to start a new year with a fresh perspective, to refocus our lives on what’s important…those things we’ve just spent two months celebrating; gratitude and love.

My birthday falls on the 2nd of January and while in some ways I hate it because it often gets forgotten by others in the holiday shuffle I love that my own personal year starts on the heels of a new calendar year in the midst of all the celebrations and re-focusing. I’ve always been a goal-setter and a list-maker so the New Year’s Resolution is second nature to me. There are few things that bring as much satisfaction as a job well-done that becomes an item that can be crossed off a list. But in this over-achievers, social media driven society everyone’s lists and accomplishments are published everywhere 24/7 to give plenty of fodder for guilt complexes, self-loathing, and more when our own lists fail to compare. I think this may be one of the greatest challenges of our day-to utilize all that the world gives us (and technology in particular) with its wealth of info, inspiration for change, creativity and improvement, and then know how best to incorporate it into our own various lives and circumstances without beating ourselves up over what we can’t/don’t do or do as well as we’d like.

I will always be a list-maker and a pinterest and blog addict but I wanted my goals this year to have a slightly different bend. Inspired by a host of things I’ve read about simplifying and a friend’s comment about choosing a power word to guide your year I decided to steal their ideas and make them my own. So, while I’ll still have a few bucket list type goals, challenges and projects I’m going to work towards my main emphasis for the year will be “Relationships”.

With my life in upheaval and things in a constant shift it’s easy for me to focus inward and forgo the relationships or pay them little respect (ie, I’ll only be here a few months, it’s not worth trying to meet people at church with the language barrier and such, by the time we make a real connection I’ll be leaving…etc.) But I know that when I look back it’s the relationships that make my life truly rich and the only way to leave a real mark on the world is by positively touching someone else’s life. I’ll be heading back to Utah and living close to family again; grandparents I’m still blessed to have and nieces and nephews who are growing way too fast just to name a few. I’d like to take time to build and deepen the relationships with those I could lose soon and those I hardly know yet. I’ll be building an entirely new social circle, embarking on a new employment adventure, attending a new church congregation, and hopefully engaging in some dating experiences. The possibilities for building relationships are endless.

And while I’m striving to have better relationships with the people in my life I’m also going to work on having a better relationship with myself, my surroundings, and God. Here are a few of the specifics:
  • make my first and last contact of each day be with an actual person rather than a device-and make as many personal rather than digital connections as possible (in person or call rather than text or email)
  • take my nephews on dates quarterly, visit my grandparents monthly and ask all the questions I’ll be sorry I don’t know the answers to if I leave them unasked
  • smile at, make eye contact with, and thank people in public service situations (at the grocery store etc.)
  • commit at least one random act of kindness daily
  • send a postcard, note, letter each week
  • take a meditation class-learn to better recognize my strengths and be more forgiving of my faults
  • breathe, stretch and move every day (I have a few challenges –planks, squats-- that will be filling this requirement)
  • recognize when I need to re-charge and say no and when I need to step outside of myself and push harder
  • slow down and be consciously aware of the food I eat, my breath, my surroundings-unplug and be open to the unexpected
  • work on developing deeper and more meaningful prayers-commit to something/ask in the morning, repent/report back at night
  • study, don’t just read, my scriptures-have a theme or question in mind as I read, take notes
I’m hoping this will help bring the important things into focus and give my life some of the depth and roots I feel I’ve been missing lately.

How about you? Are you a resolution maker? What are some of your goals for 2014? Here’s to us all, let’s make it a great year!

(And who doesn't have a goal to go to the beach more often?! Here's a little inspiration for you. And a sneak peek at the holiday trip re-cap you'll be getting soon!)

1 comment:

  1. I was in inspired in testimony meeting yesterday to come up with a list of themes for a month for my scripture reading. I have a list through May and then in June I'll come up with some more. I too have trouble with meaningful scripture study (not reading).