Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years

Whether you're feeling prepared or not, 2010 is nearly upon us. And what would New Years be without the guilty murmurings of resolutions... "This year I'm going to learn how to speak Yiddish!" "This year I'm going to lose 75 pounds!" "This year I'm going to be a better brother/father/son/grandparent!" "This year I'm going to finally realize my dream of professional yodeling!"

I used to be kind of down on New Years resolutions. Why should an arbitrary holiday be the turning point for realizing our dreams? Most people don't keep their New Years resolutions, so what's the point? Isn't it better if we all worked towards our goals right now? After all, progress is generally made when we carve out time to work towards our dreams each and every day... one piece at a time... not jumping into them until we're over our heads and then give up.

But lately I have begun to see that many of us require that extra little push to feel like we are ready to begin a new journey, a new challenge. The promise of a new year and a clean slate provides the backdrop for a fresh undertaking. The post-holiday motivation can be the perfect catalyst for developing new habits and taking the first steps towards a goal.

Whether you choose to usher in 2010 with a resolution or simply look forward to your continued growth over the next 365 days, new years is a great time for some honest reflection. If you're still not sure what you hope for the start of the 10s, here are a few tips for kicking off the new year in the right frame of mind.
  • Make a list of all the things you hope to be doing in the next year, no matter how ludicrous or optimistic they may seem. See how detailed you can be. Go through the list and circle, star, highlight or bejewel those that are top priorities, and get started on making them a reality.
  • Pull out a stack of old magazines and clip out all of the images that appeal to you, arrange them into a collage and post it somewhere you'll be sure to see it everyday. What images spoke to you? What does your visual taste tell you about what you're looking for in your life? Let your collage be your inspiration.
  • Grab a calendar and, for each month, vow to do one thing that you really want to do... Write it down and, if you can, set the time and date now - being specific will help you to stick to your plan. For example, maybe you want to go apple picking in September, or spend a night at a bed and breakfast in June. Perhaps you're counting down the days to see the next installment of Harry Potter (midnight showing, anyone?) or would like to host a theme party in March... The idea here is to plan 12 different activities that are fun for you, whatever that may be, and end up with something special to look forward to each month for the entire year.
  • Try picking just one theme for the upcoming year. Perhaps this will be your year of independence, of delight in everyday things, or of epicurean adventures. Maybe you'll decide on an affirmation, motto, or mantra to carry with you this year, such as "I am learning everyday" or "I will be open to the opportunities the world presents". Perhaps you can even boil your intentions for the year down to one word, such as embodying simplicity, balance, or honesty.

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