Here we are five days into the New Year. A few weeks back, I heard someone refer to 'new' as improved, better, something more than what we have now. It seems to be that this applies to the hopefulness with which we human souls enter a New Year. It is with this hopefulness that we look toward the coming year and call out what it is we want to achieve, what we are hoping our lives will look like in the year to come.
My resolution setting has taken a journey of its own over the years. I've set my share of the typical resolutions. You know the sort - lose 20 pounds (which I have done and undone several times), quit smoking (which after a few false starts actually stuck), exercise (some years I make it so, other years not so much). While this format may help others get the jump start they are looking for, frankly I struggled with greeting the New Year with a list of rigid goals.
Then, a few years ago my resolutions shifted to broader sweeping goals. With more introspection, I found myself setting goals for the year to include being kind, being less critical of myself and others, setting aside judgement. These guidelines worked for me. I was able to regularly affirm what I wanted to achieve. "Be Kind". That is an easy goal to remember. Not always easy to deliver on, but certainly easy to remember. Maybe it was a bit of a cop out as there was nothing to measure, but there was a large amount of change going on in my life and it felt like progress was being made.
But, there was something missing.
Part of it was the absence of really reflecting on the past year as a whole - the dusting off the memories and taking a look at the significant, and sometimes insignificant, moments of the year. What am I thankful for? What did I learn? What did I accomplish? What would I do differently the next time around? Maybe more importantly, the flat out stating what it is I want to achieve in the New Year was also missing.
This year, I've updated my resolution game plan. Three days of peace and quiet in the mountains and I have come away with those things I'll be getting after in 2009. Some of them are daily commitments - sit in silence at least 10 minutes each day. Some are less structured - blog regularly. Others are things I'll be kicking off this year - learn to play an instrument. Still others are open ended - use what I am passionate about in my daily work.
For someone who tends to be a nose to the grindstone girl, my intention is to tuck some cool life stuff into the daily grind. To find ways to achieve my goals and to give back. To check some things off my list and, yes, to still be kind.