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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Resolutions - or not.

Happy New Year everyone! It is cold and snowy and I made beef stew for supper. It is simmering in the crock pot and the aroma is wafting through the house.  I can imagine chunks of potato, carrot and onion growing soft in the bubbly beef broth while emanating their flavor throughout the tomato rich base and beef steak cubes so tender you can’t wait to pop them in your mouth. My husband loves this stew so much he won’t even eat crackers with it – nothing to mess with the original flavor. And why did I tell you all this? Not to make you envious (did I?)  The point is I did not make a New Year’s resolution to cook more or eat healthier or even be a better wife. I just wanted to please my hubby.  In fact, I made NO New Year’s resolutions. I usually do not and here’s why.

 I am glad New Year’s Day is a holiday and a day off work, but I really don’t see it as any different from April 15, June 21, November 11 or December 31. It’s just another day. I’m all for new beginnings and uncharted territory and all that, but the truth is, you don’t have to wait for January 1 to make resolutions. You can do it any day you like. If you made a resolution and you’ve already failed, you can make it again tomorrow – or whatever day you please. And I believe we should. If you recognize something you need to change, do it. Don’t wait to “start on Monday” or even look at the calendar. Just do it.

Now, lest you think I’m a lazy bum or a procrastinator (Who me?) I have several goals in front of me that I am working toward.  But I didn’t make this list on January 1. I compile it all through the year and into the next. Our goals list should be constantly changing as we mark things off or add something bigger. January 1 is not a license to throw your old unattained goals away and think up new ones. Keep working. Keep striving. Keep your pen nearby because it feels really good to mark off those things.

I’ve noticed that some of us have a tendency to look back at the year gone by and remember all the bad stuff as in “I sure hope 2014 treats me better than 2013 did” or “I can’t wait for 2013 to be over. It wasn’t a good one for me.” Yeah, all of us had not-so-pleasant stuff that happened in 2013 and granted, some people’s bad list is way badder than others. But wasn’t there anything good to remember about the year just past? Surely there were things that made you smile along the way. Try remembering those instead.

I’ve found that some people believe life is a ‘Happiness cycle.’  Picture a big graph with lots of hills and valleys. Sometimes you’re on top of the hill and sometimes you’re in the dark valley.  Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, offers a different explanation and I think I’m with him on this. Instead of the up and down graph thing, life is more like a railroad track, two sides laying parallel to each other. There is always something nice and always something not as nice. Sometimes one side of that track can trump the other side such as in something so awful happening we can’t see the good stuff going on. The secret, I believe is counting your blessings through the hard times. Look for the good, the light at the end of the tunnel, the rainbow peeking through the clouds. It’s always there.

I hope 2014 treats you well but at the same time I don’t believe the numbers on the calendar have anything to do with it. Keep your eyes on the prize and move forward, persistent and always on the lookout for the hidden blessings. They’re more fun when they jump out and surprise you!

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