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Don’t Call Them New Year’s Resolutions – A Chance for a Fresh Start

Beginning in December, there’s a lot of talk about resolutions for the upcoming year.  

Health and fitness companies, diet plans, financial planning businesses, and many “work from home” advertisements all remind us that yet another year has come and gone, and we most likely lost our time and motivation to reach some of the goals related to these areas of life.  Enter in a new year, and we are all trying to think of ways to better ourselves.

Lately, I have heard many people talk about how they don’t make resolutions, and until recently, I was one of those people.  New year’s resolutions can seem hollow and fake, in that just because a new year is upon us, it doesn’t mean we need to think of ways to change ourselves.

What are resolutions, really?

What are resolutions, really?  

Are resolutions a chance for a fresh start?  A way to say, “I do not like this about myself/my life/my choices so it is time for a change?”  Are they a hard look at your life to see what can be different?  Really, resolutions are a way of setting goals and thinking about what to accomplish in a new year.  

2016 was a difficult year for me, for both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons.  I know it was for many others as well, but for me, it will go down in the books as a “Thank goodness that’s over” type year.  The year began with daycare issues and my husband leaving work to take care of our boys, subsequently resulting in him being out of work for months, and ended with the deaths of both my uncle and my beloved cat.  By November, I was ready to write 2016 off and start all over again.

December went by in a blur, as it always does, and here we are in a new year.  And I am breathing a big sigh of relief.  

The sigh of relief comes from the feeling that I can take a good, hard look at my life and take control, and decide what I can do to make things better.  So, while I am not making “resolutions” per se, I am making changes, and starting fresh with some ideas on which I hope to focus my time and energy:

Keeping a Good Things Journal

Resolution 1: keep a Good Things journal

A page from my journal of Good Things.

Have you seen other friends or family post photos of their happiness jars?  The idea is that every week or every time something good happens, they write it down and put it in the jar.  At the end of the year, they go through this jar as a family and remember all of the GOOD things that happened during the year.  While I like this idea, instead of a jar, I am doing a Good Things Journal.  

Since last year was so difficult for us as a family, I decided that this year, regardless of what happens, I will keep a journal of what is good and positive in our lives.  A no pressure, write when I can, add photos and souvenirs as necessary, journal.  The key here for me is the no pressure – if it becomes something I feel like I HAVE to do versus that I WANT to do, then it is a chore and I feel guilty for not doing it.

This journal will be a reminder to myself that I can change the way I see the world and my day to day life, trying to look for the positive things I want to remember and keep track of, instead of the alternative.

Traveling to See Family and Friends

When my uncle passed away last October, he had never met my youngest son, Charlie, and had only met my oldest son a fewKeeping in touch is an important resolution. times.  This was a serious wake up call for me regarding the importance of keeping in touch, and not just through social media.  For a few years now, my husband and I have been talking about visiting a friend and her family in Washington DC, and we have yet to do it.  I told him that we will make the trip this year.  I also plan on making an effort to see other friends and family, and that life is too short to keep saying, “It’s been too long and life is too busy…”  

Focusing on My Career

My focus has been so many other things for so long – my children and their happiness, my husband and finding him a new job, keeping our finances in order and our house in relative working order… Now it’s time to focus on my own goals.  Having recently been published in a national science newspaper, I hope to take my career a step further, and research and write for other publications.

There are other “resolutions” if you will.  

Of course, I need to pay attention to my health and fitness goals, which are just as important as any of the others listed above.  My husband and I need to focus on home improvements such as painting our kitchen and bedroom and re-covering our kitchen chairs.  I need to learn how to let the little things go, (and some big things).  But all of those ideas aside, I am looking forward to a fresh start and new goals for 2017!

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