It’s the time of year when we look back on our achievements from the previous year and ahead to what we want to do in the new one.  It’s a time for resolutions for change and commitment to goals.

I have a friend Esther who recently posted on FB about her YEAR LONG COMMITMENT to her 2015 New Year’s Resolution. She had pledged to donate $5 for every post that Rep Mary Franson put on Facebook that was “inappropriate, inaccurate, not applicable to her position as a state representative, and for the sole purpose of cultivating controversy” and the Douglas County DFL made a tidy sum on this pledge.  I commend her as she is one of the few people able to say she’d completed a year-long resolution… so many of us peter out in the first week or two.  Or the first day…  I remember a couple years ago noting how, the first week of January, yoga classes were suddenly FULL and, by February, the class size had reverted to a typical number of students.

I once read a book on time and cycles (at least a part of it, though I’m not recalling the title now… it’s somewhere in a box at the Harn) which said that January 1st is NOT the time to make resolutions, but that we should do it on our birthday each year.  Our own personal cycles, based on date of birth, may well be a more timely and effective place to implement these ideas.  This changes nothing for my mother who celebrates her birthday each January 1st, but I remember trying it the year I read that book.  I cannot recall the change I selected on my birthday that year, but I am sure I didn’t make the entire year, though I have made several year-long or longer commitments in my life.  I did a year-long commitment to daily Reiki and journaling when I received my Reiki I certification in 2011, I did a couple multi-year stints with celibacy many years back, and celebrated 20 years of sobriety in 2012.  So I know about commitment.  But changing my ways has typically involved a quick reversion to the norm after attempts to make improvements like eating healthy, losing weight, or anything apparently that I just don’t want to do.

Because isn’t that really the key? Wanting to do the new thing?  Feeling enough passion or pain that we can truly commit to the change?  When we want to do something, it gets done.  Sometimes those things are needed for the long-term and sometimes for only a season or a short while.  Maybe we need to stop eating gluten because our bodies cannot process this substance.  Ah, yes.  A long-term change.  And maybe it is important to take time after a major medical crisis to heal in quiet rest.  But at some point, we also need to push ourselves to regain strength.  Maybe we do need to sleep more if we’ve burned the candle at both ends for too long.  But do we take it to an extreme where things that need to be done to achieve our dreams end up being avoided?  Re-evaluating what seems to bring what we desire at one time can result in us maintaining balance and real commitment to our bigger dreams.  I left a high paying career in metallurgical engineering because it was slowly killing my spirit and I truly desired a move into a new phase of pursuing a more simple and sustainable life, a life of less stress.  It’s been a good decision for many reasons… so far.  And I will continue to re-evaluate.

So I do like that we consider improvement and where we truly want to go with our lives at least this one time a year.  Personally, I think it’s wise to consider these ideas every day.  And, to a degree, I try to make commitments to positive life ideas frequently.  I fail a great deal but I guess I am more successful doing it though the year and making some progress rather than just this once a year and failing in the one instance.

My friend Alice posted on FB about making a resolution to simply “love yourself more”.  I like this. And it reminded me of the episode of Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson Dan and I watched the other night where the guest mentioned that we should become billionaires, not by making a billion dollars, but by making a positive difference in a billion people’s lives. What a great concept!  And I thought to myself, “This will be my goal.” Not only through financial donations but, more simply and beautifully by smiling at people I meet, welcoming folks into the bookstore where I work in love, and sharing compassion, understanding and nonjudgmental appreciation for the many people I encounter as this life progresses. These little differences really add up as I think of the many times a quick word, nod of the head or smile has made my day so much better.  These brief lights in our lives bring such sweetness and comfort.

And it’s a gift that gives.  I believe that, in giving, we receive what we are pursuing. Sometimes it’s not immediate but usually when I give a smile, I get one in return.  When I make a kind gesture, I find that kindness comes my way soon enough.  I not only believe that we reap what we sow, but that we do so in spades.  That what we put out comes back three-fold, or even ten-fold.  So it works the other way too.  When I’m short-tempered, impatient and unkind, I find much of the same coming my way, often more than I felt that I gave!  But in giving good, I am able to get the love I desire. I always feel good about me and love me more when I’m sharing love and happiness with those around me.

Here’s wishing you all a productive and committed new year.  Meanwhile, I’ll be hanging with my baby.  Tom is here!!


* Thanks to Fran and Gretchen!! 🙂