A New Way to look at the New Year.

First I’d like to say “Happy New Year” to you all. Around this time every year TV and magazines start sending out their list of the best and worst of our culture. It is always fun to look back upon our year and see what happened. Often they remind us of events we forgot about or they reinforce our personal beliefs of what we considered to be the highs and lows of the year. Everyone gets ready for New Year’s Eve and starts making their resolutions for the new coming year. I am not a personal believer in resolutions because they often inspire us to fail. We sit down and write a few goals for ourselves. We want to start on January 1st because that is the first day of the New Year and the first day of our New Life! That is what we tell ourselves. And then we go to our annual New Year’s Eve party and have a little champagne and then a little chocolate. What the heck, right? We are starting a new life tomorrow! Soon the chocolate and the champagne are flowing, and you wake up the next morning feeling like instead of having consumed a dozen champagne bottles, you were beaten with them. You resolve to start the next day, and then the next day slips away and then another day goes by until several weeks have passed. Guilt overruns us and we give up on our resolutions before we even start. It is too easy to get caught up into the whole spirit of the New Year without really thinking about the dedication that is involved in having to change your life. That is what we want after all isn’t it? To change the things we don’t like about ourselves. I think we are going about it all wrong. Resolutions tend to focus on the negative parts of ourselves like to stop smoking, to stop overeating, to stop losing your temper so quickly. Resolutions play into our guilt about ourselves. My solution to these resolution guilt traps is to do what these TV and magazine year end reviews do and write up a list for you. List all the accomplishments you achieved this year. If you can’t think of any ask your spouse, friends and family. Look around your home, in your closet, or reflect on your job. Christmas time usually brings a lot of cards your way. Look them over and see who thinks you are a special person in their life. Did you finally read that book you meant to read over the summer? Or did you finally clean out the closet of all your old clothes and give them to good will? It doesn’t even have to be something big. How about all the times you cleaned the kitchen or did a favor for a friend? You need to give the little accomplishments just as much attention and praise as the big ones. Make your list a moment of reflection on the good things you did over the year and want to continue to do.