How do you ring in the new year? Are you eager to make it great and bright? Do you need to slow down and discover the beauty of taking it easy? With each passing year, your collection of insights gets bigger and richer.
Returning home Christmas Eve, I enjoyed an uplifting conversation with “Sally” a flight attendant. Sally began to outline her life story as a girl who grew up the youngest in a family of eight kids. Her dad died when she was ten. Mom and her oldest brother raised her. When her mom got cancer, Sally stopped working to care for her full time. She recalled, twice during our brief chat, the memory of holding mom’s hand when she released her last breath. Recalling her deceased mother's wish, Sally decided to create a new life. At first, she was so sad she wasn’t sure if she could survive the greatest loss of her life. Doctors prescribed a variety of medications to manage the grief but they weren’t effective. At her hardest time Sally weighed 230 pounds. Eventually, she turned to a Christian counselor for help. The counselor recited the same two prayers every time they met for therapy. Sally also said these prayers to herself in between visits. In time, Sally could feel the light and love build up inside herself. As she described this stage, she used her hands to show me how love filled her up from the belly up. With this renewed passion for life, Sally traded her job, hometown and old ways for something new. She emphasized that these days, she is: “Enjoying myself. That is what I do.”
This touching story made me think about the ways you and I can care for ourselves in the new year. Once you come up with a resolution, you need to give it life and breath.
Use these six practical tips to stay on track all year long.
Keep resolutions simple and clear.
Write down or draw one word. Take a picture of it and keep it as your phone’s wallpaper. Set a phone reminder at least once a day to look at your resolution and smile.
Engage your imagination by visualizing your resolution weaving its way in and around your mind. Use an image such as a thermometer or empty tank to measure your contributions. Write your resolution next to the image. Schedule time each day, week or month when you can mark your visual with how much you practiced the resolution.
There is nothing like a healthy dose of excitement around a resolution. Excitement keeps you motivated, happy and on the path.
Choose a practice that you can live with all year. You can tweak and build on it, but you need to stay connected to it every day in some way.
Invite a friend to write/draw their own resolution. Spend time talking about them. Find ways you can support each other throughout the year. Hold each other accountable on a regular basis.
Find a role model.
Do you know someone who accomplished your resolution? Read their book, blog or reach out to them. Feed off the energy of witnessing first-hand how your resolution will impact your life.