Thoughts on New Year's Resolutions
Yikes! Here we are once again welcoming new year. How quickly the 365 days, 52 weeks, and 12 months of 2009 swept past, leaving me dazed. Actually I am feeling the same about how quickly we arrived at the beginning of the tenth year of our "new" century. How about you?
I have been thinking also about the tradition of making new year's resolutions. Rare are those who take time to plan how those resolutions will become reality, and rarer still those who resolve, strategize, and accomplish their goals.
Still the new year is a fresh beginning, and we all have feelings about ways we could improve our lives. Perhaps making only one resolution and keeping it simple would improve our chances of success. With that in mind, I began thinking of small gestures that reap big rewards. Here's one, and I'll bet we all learned it from our parents early on: treat everyone we meet the way we'd like to be treated.
Doing our best to live this way enhances our lives and the lives of those with whom we interact. Granted, we'll not always succeed. Doing our best does not guarantee perfection after all, but the more we practice, the better we become. Imagine what we'd be teaching the children in our lives by acting on this one resolution. Think what a positive contribution we'd be making towards creating a better world for all of us. One resolution, untold benefits.
This resolution is easy to keep until someone we encounter "pushes a button" and activates our "two can play that game" response center. Then we have to struggle to remember our resolution, pause before reacting, and respond consciously to the situation. When we do, we exercise control and diffuse rather than escalate a negative encounter. We cannot control the "offender," but we have a choice about how we react, and that makes all the difference.
So I invite you to join us in resolving to consciously treat others the way we want others to treat us, even when we'd rather not, maybe even especially when we'd rather not. I know we'll be "tested." I know sometimes our best will not be enough to turn a negative situation around, but I also know first-hand the rewards of pausing before reacting.
We'd like to know what you think about the tradition of making resolutions. If you could make only one new year's resolution, what would it be? How would you plan for success in keeping the resolution? Do you think perhaps the act of making resolutions is more about wishes than wish fulfillment? Do we perhaps overwhelm ourselves by making too many resolutions or fail to devise a strategy for achieving our goals?
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