New Year’s, the Chance to Begin Again
New Year’s Resolutions
Every year in December when we are deep into the holiday celebrations, the New Year patiently awaits with a delicious invitation to start a new and reaffirm our purpose. Many people make New Year’s resolutions figuring the long road of the year’s time will leave plenty of opportunities to achieve goals and objectives. But the year ahead is less interested in goals and more intrigued with purpose. Goals are a bit easier to manage because they are measurable and can give you a feeling of success, but they can sometimes distract and blind you to your best path. Reaching for your purpose is a bit more of an ambiguous road, but so worth the effort.
You can give yourself the opportunity to assess the wisdom from your past and visualize the potential for your future at anytime, but natural new beginnings like New Years give you the chance to ask yourself a few important questions that can help you to unmask the mysteries of the map of your life. Consider the following questions as a review of the past year and let your answers guide you into the New Year.
What are you most proud about yourself this year?
This does not have to be just about a goal that you achieved, it can be about a relationship you set right, a challenging event or situation you handled well, something you created, a new attitude you’ve taken on, or something you tried and learned from. The answer to this question most often hovers around what matters most to you.
What worked well last year that you’d like to build on? What didn’t work and how would you like to change it?
Life is a long series of experiments in which what works and what doesn’t work is all good information. When something works well, you can build on it and move in a positive direction. When something doesn’t work well, it is valuable information like a street sign that says, “Wrong Way” or “Do Not Enter” and warns you to try a different way. There are no failures, only experiments. When you understand this, you can use it as a compass to help you find your best road, relationships, job, ideas, or inventions.
Where, when and doing what did you feel the best of yourself in action?
There is nothing more gratifying than feeling like you are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. We all have gifts and natural strengths that shine when they are applied to the right situation. Conversely, when the same gifts are utilized in a situation where they are not valued, they can fall flat. It’s not the gifts that go wrong; it is the situation in which they are utilized that lets them shine or not. The key is to be clear about how to contribute your unique gifts in ways and in situations where you feel you are at your best. Take stock of times when it all came together nicely for you, and look for similar opportunities.
What do you most want to contribute this next year?
Answer this question for each of the roles in your life, at work, at home, in friendships, in your faith, and in your community overall, and it will give you your own personal roadmap for the New Year. Perhaps you want to give time, patience, kindness, or compassion as often as you can. Maybe you want to lead the way for a new idea or project. Or maybe you want to un-clutter your life and lighten your heart. Whatever you decide, be intentional, and you will make a difference in your life and those around you.
No matter how this past year has gone, you can find golden nuggets of wisdom that can guide you going forward. It is important to remember that at any time you can always begin again. And as much as possible going forward…Be who you were meant to be. Do what you were born to do.
Terry Barnett-Martin, M.S., LMFT is a relationship counselor in private practice in Southern California. She is an openhearted, intuitive practitioner and writer who is dedicated to helping people find a purpose and path in their life and relationships.www.tendingfences.com; www.truepurposecounseling.com
Tending Fences: Building Safe and Healthy Relationship Boundaries; The Parables of Avery Soul can be purchased from www.amazon.com and through major booksellers.
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