Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. – Oprah Winfrey
This will be the seventh year I’ve made a list of intentions for the year and emailed them to myself to review this time next year. In 2010 I started calling them “intentions” rather than “resolutions” – that felt and still feels a little less threatening (a.k.a. committal).
A quick perusal of the lists from the last six years produces some recurring themes: eat better, exercise more, lose weight, meditate more. But there have also been some interesting items along the way that I’m sure are telling about where I was in that point in life.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. – Benjamin Franklin
Headed into 2009 I was at a low point in my career, in an emotionally abusive relationship, and was barely hanging on by a thread day-to-day. The list that year included what seems now a very sad, perfunctory maintenance list: “get computer fixed, clean out storage room, get cats vaccinated, copy and then donate all CD’s, get renter’s insurance.” I guess the good news on that list is there were none of the resolutions that sprang from body-hating that I and other women are prone to on New Year’s. On the flip-side, headed into 2012 I had intentions of things like “move out of NYC (check), join an adventure group (I suppose an adult kickball team counts), give a conference presentation (I gave two that year), and date more (thankfully Mr. Bim made the cut that year).
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. – Gilbert K. Chesterton
On the other hand, I’ve not followed through with a few biggies from the 2013 and 2014 lists. In 2013, Brett and I purchased the Rosetta Stone for Spanish and I was going to learn it (I’m not sure where the CD’s are now). Both years have had daily meditation on the list and I go through spurts, but am sporadic in times of stress (when I need meditation the most). And, this year I had the goal of mastering an unassisted handstand in yoga. With working two jobs this fall, yoga has fallen by the wayside in the last couple of months (something I look to remedy in 2015). So no handstands here. Though, I did complete a teacher training (technically on the list for 2010, but I’ll take it as a win for this year.)
Ring out the false, ring in the true. – Alfred Lord Tennyson
One thing I did manage to do from my 2014 list was to read 12 books. Most of them were in the yoga teacher training, but still – check! The book list from 2014 includes yoga/self discovery books (Journey Into Power, 40 Days to Personal Revolution, Yoga Sutras, A Complaint Free World, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff and The Four Agreements) the rereading of two of Shakespeare’s plays (Hamletand Macbeth), a really terrible James Patterson book that I read because I was stranded and had nothing else to read (Zoo), a couple of chick-flick books about women who try to destroy their husbands (Gone Girl and The Silent Wife) and a fantastic book that I finished yesterday (The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection).
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. – Neil Gaiman
This year I’m trying something new. After reading The Happiness Project in 2013, I tried a version last year at this time and it helped me stay focused on the big shifts I wanted to see in my life. And, in case you haven’t followed my shoutings from the Facebook rooftop, 2014 turned into the biggest and best year of my life. My own official happiness project and the maintenance of it fell apart mid-year, so this year, I’m relying on peer pressure (from the three people who read this blog) to stay focused. The idea of The Happiness Project is to pick one big area you want to work on that month and then come up with smaller goals for the month to support it. It’s also cumulative, so that by the end of the 12 months, you’ve made improvements in each of the big areas of your life. The writer, Gretchen Rubin, keeps a sticker chart and evaluates herself on her goals each week. I’m not sure I’m motivated by stickers – peer pressure and public shaming work far better for me. So, I’m going to write about each new intention at the top of the month (along with the specific goals that support it) and then evaluate myself in writing at the end of the month. Here is the post on January’s intention and goals.
However you mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, I wish you peace, joy, and the recognition that today is a new day.