Happy New Year! We have entered 2014 and I'd like to think it welcomes us with open arms.
To me the new year is a chance at a new beginning. It's the opportunity to set goals for ourselves and to determine what can be improved upon in our lives. In a way we have a clean slate to work with.
I always like to take this time to reflect back on the previous year. Did I accomplish anything, try something new or meet new people? On the other side, did I hurt anyone, lose anyone, or make some bad decisions? From the answers to these questions we can decide what needs some work this year and create meaningful resolutions.
I've never been a fan of the stereotypical resolutions. Giving up chocolate or going to the gym every single day just doesn't seem that important. If you're going to really work the entire year toward something, why not make it worthwhile? Pick something you truly struggle with. This is your chance to get rid of a wrong you continuously commit or to finally make a big decision you've been dragging your feet with.
If you choose to make a resolution it may be helpful to tell someone else your plan so that they can hold you accountable, or find a friend with the same resolution as you and work together. Writing or blogging about the experience could also be beneficial. Reading and seeing that progress is being made is always a good incentive to keep at it.
As for me, I'm going to work on acceptance and understanding this year.
I often find myself quickly judging others, and I constantly beat myself up for it. I have no right to think negative thoughts, but the instant I learn someone has made a choice I don't agree with the criticizing trumps the understanding. I rarely voice my thoughts, but thinking it is just as bad as saying it.
I have no idea what someone may be going through or why it is they are where they are in life. I may be who they need in that instance to help them, but if I'm secretly tearing them down I won't be in the right mindset to feel compassion, and the opportunity will be lost. When those judgemental thoughts start creeping in I need to turn and look at my own flaws.
So that will be my area of improvement for 2014.
Whether you choose a resolution or not, I hope you take the opportunity of this new beginning to have fun, make changes and learn lessons.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, "With the old Alamanack and the old Year, Leave thy old Vices, tho' ever so dear."
(Laura Reed is a desk editor at The Review. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org)