In general, I have found that most New Year’s resolutions are born out of a desire for a “better” life. I can see the appeal. Who doesn’t want to be fitter? Richer? Smarter? More well-traveled?
Well, I have tried this approach, friends, and I have failed. I think it’s mostly because in my enthusiasm to change, I forgot to take into account my personality, my genes, my age and the combination of choices (mostly good, some not that smart) that led me to who and where I was. So this year, I decided to do it differently. Instead of creating a list of things to help me attain a better life, I wrote the following list to help me become a better person. It’s an ambitious list, but one I think everyone can strive towards. Go 2013!
– I will listen more and talk less. When I am listening, I will endeavour to really hear what is being said as opposed to concentrating on what brilliant thing I am about to say next.
– My opinion does matter. But, if I stranglehold that opinion and try to smother people with it, then I am missing a great opportunity to learn something. It could be from someone I’ve known and cared about for years (and wouldn’t that be a lovely surprise!) or alternately, it could be a stranger with a lesson to teach me. There are PLENTY of people in the world that know more than I do.
– I will be more patient. The Universe does not care about my schedule. The Universe has a schedule of its own and though the pace might not always be to my liking, there is often a reason behind it that I might not understand right away or even, for many years.
– I will be better to my body. I will get more sleep and eat more green stuff. My body will not reset itself. If I want to live longer, I have to take care. There are people who count on me to be around for the long haul.
– No more feeling even the slightest twinge of disappointment when I look in the mirror. I have got to start realizing that what I am seeing is not necessarily what everyone else sees. I am programmed to be hard on myself. I need to be as generous towards my own reflection as I am towards that of my best friend’s.
– I really do feel better after I work out. I am less grumpy and more optimistic. Sadly, I cannot achieve this same feeling eating Cheese-Itz and watching TV.
– Time is my most precious asset. When I was very young, there was no way for me to understand this. Now that I do, I will keep this in mind before I agree to go out with people I don’t like, watch reality TV, spend more than five seconds ruminating on the droopiness of my rear end or say yes to anything out of sheer obligation. This brings me quite handily to…
– I can be nice and I can be happy. Sometimes I can be both. Sometimes, I am required to choose. If I choose to be nice over my own happiness, I must keep in mind that it was solely MY choice to make. I cannot, therefore, be mean-spirited towards those around me who are connected to that decision.
– In the movie of my life, sometimes I am the star, sometimes I am a supporting role and sometimes I am an extra. I’m not being punished or rewarded; this is just how the credits roll when you are a mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter etc. Besides, the ever-changing cast makes the movie more exciting.
– There is always something I can do about it. Always. Whatever it is.
– There will be days this year when I will feel totally and absolutely alone in the world, even as I am surrounded by people and things that I love. But, I am not alone; I am simply out of cinch, as if everyone around me is keeping time to a different song. I must remember to be patient when this happens. It’s a glitch. Wait for the song to end and we will naturally start in time again, together.
– I will consume less and make more.
– I will take the time to be proud of all the accomplishments I make this year, even if they seem small. No one is going to give me an award for making dinner or doing the laundry, no matter how well I do it. I will mentally hand out gold stars to myself.
– I will not take the love I have or the love I am given for granted.
– I will endeavour to be more present and live inside each moment, because I have no way of knowing which one will end up being important. Happiness is, more often than not, a recollection.
– I will fill a portion of my waking day with silence. I don’t always need for something to be “on”.
– It’s time for me to stop blaming, feeling entitled, inwardly groaning and comparing my life to others. I have so much. As often as I can, I must replace these feelings with gratitude.
– I am no saint. No one expects me to be one. However, I can be more tolerant with people I don’t understand. True grace begins with empathy for others.
– I will be genuinely happy for someone else’s success.
– My own success will not be reflected in my bank account. There are many rich people who attained their wealth by being worthless.
– I will not try to fix every problem I come across. Sometimes, it is not my problem to fix. Sometimes I have to trust the problem will be resolved without my “expert” interference. There will be times I can step in and make a situation better. There will also be times when all I should do is listen to someone talk about the nature of it.
– I will not assume that my more far flung dreams will fail. JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a coffee house, on welfare, with a baby.
– Then again, there are some dreams that are born before you know who you are and are clung to out of habit. I can let these dreams go without feeling as though I’ve failed.
– I will be more charitable; not just to those in need but to my friends and family as well. In turn, I will ask for help when I need it and I will not hold it against those close to me for not offering. Only superheroes (and some super villains) can read minds.
– In the quest to become the best version of myself that I can be, I am bound to fall off the wagon. That’s okay. I promise to always get back on.
This next season on The Heatley Cliff podcast, Sher and I will be talking a lot about this journey. I really hope that you will join us!