Yep, it’s a new year and a new month. January is the time when we make resolutions and reflect on the past year. I both love and hate the ritual of making resolutions. I find it both an optimistic and pessimistic time. Several years I made gallant proclamations, only to see the resolution and my resolve fade into oblivion as soon as the sun sank below the horizon. It’s hard to change and it’s hard to take steps in a different direction.
Commonly, New Year’s resolutions are about change, but also about amending habits. Diet, finance, fitness, cleanliness are some of the popular areas in which we seek change. But what are we really trying to change? Our habits, our situations, our behaviors, our lives? We know that change is the only constant, but it’s hard to see the change in little steps. Big journeys start in little steps. A marathon or a walk around the block starts with one step. Purging a house of excess belongings or clearing out one shelf starts with one item in a bag of donations. A diet could begin with eliminating desert or a lifetime of healthy eating habits may begin with eating a side of winter greens. Those habits, though, are only a symptom, a symbol. We’re seeking renewal and second chances. We’re challenging ourselves and looking for new direction.
Several times in this blog and elsewhere, I have resolved to try to do new things. I’ve made lists and public proclamations, but I haven’t always followed through with these resolutions. This time, I’m seeking something more. I’m looking at my internal compass to see how a slight shift inside might lead to bigger changes. I also want to be able to fulfill my resolutions, instead of setting myself up for failure and steps backward. This time, I’m keeping it simple.
1. Be kind. That’s a tough one, but it’s simple and an easy one to govern my everyday actions. Being kind also means being kind to myself. No muttering under my breath.
2. Stay clean. I’m working on some housekeeping. I’m working on improving my work space. I’m clearing out my car for efficiency and clarity. If I’m going to accomplish anything, it helps not to be drowning in baggage, whether mental roadblocks or physical clutter piled on my desk. It also means a clean mind, a clean body, a clean mouth. Too often I find four-letter words easy to reach for in everyday language, instead of trying to articulate my frustration. Four letter words also strip away the kindness I’m striving for.
3. Build self-discipline. I want to strive for this in all senses of the term, but also to think of it in a positive way. Building means taking small steps towards something larger than myself. It’s big and vague, but lots of little things fall into the category. I’d rather build than tear down.
Resolutions show our resolve. They help us to strive for our goals. We often drop them, though, and feel as if we’ve failed. I challenge us to look for resolutions that won’t fail us. To look for resolutions that we know we can achieve.
Resolutions are about a new year and a clean slate as we celebrate another trip around the sun. Another revolution of the earth. If resolutions can be small, so can revolutions. It’s one turn, one twist, one take. A revolution can mean huge change, but it also means that one turn around. Turn around once. Turn around twice. Two revolutions. Small steps, big change. Big steps, small change.
Look to your resolutions and revolutions. One turn to bask in the sun’s warmth on a cold morning. One step into the light. Let it begin!