The month of December can be a very busy time of the year for most people. It can also be a time of over-indulgence. Too much spending, eating, drinking and franticness can have negative repercussions. So perhaps now is the time to live life a bit more gently, to breathe, reflect and plan the year ahead.
In 2014, I made a point of really sticking to my gratitude journal. I wrote in it nearly every day and I am so glad I did! On New Year’s Eve, I read through my year of gratitude and realized I had been blessed with a fantastic year. I knew there had been some great moments (like my daughter’s wedding) but I hadn’t even realized the extent of my blessings. I was amazed by how much more richer my life had been then I had realized. I had read so many life-changing books, I had received all that I needed even though money had been tight, I had seen blessings in each of my children’s lives, I made new friends and cultivated existing ones, saw prayers answered, I was inspired to meditate more and had numerous delicious takeaways! I feel more than ever how important it is to keep a journal every day listing all the things which happened which you are thankful for. Reading all the past years highlights made for a great New Year’s Eve as I looked forward with optimism toward the year ahead. It really puts things in perspective; so much so, that I now feel inspired to take things one step further by actually making some plans to make things happen. After all, there are twelve months in a year so why not plan to learn some new things, make some dreams come true, develop some character traits or new skills? Forget the traditional ideas of New Year’s resolutions where you give up some things (or promise yourself that you will). Instead resolve to add things to yourself instead of taking it away. I have started a list and am very excited by what I will hopefully be accomplishing this year. For instance, there are loads of tutorials on YouTube that can teach you anything from how to play an instrument to learning a foreign language. I may use a few to learn a new skill or two.
A few things on my list for the year are:
- Improve my singing voice (just enough so I can stop lip-syncing in church).
- Learn a few photography techniques (so as not to rely so much on photo editing to fix my mistakes).
- Try twelve new vegetarian recipes (I was gifted with a calendar which has twelve international veggie recipes! )
- Learn and create four new Christmas crafts
- Read more classical literature
- Begin work on a book I want to write.
What will be on your list? It doesn’t need to be too challenging. You can have one for each month of the year and make it nine small things and three challenging things. That way you have a better chance at accomplishing some things and not get discouraged. Will you learn a prayer in another language? Learn to use chopsticks? Take a course? Make sure you choose things you really would enjoy doing!
Here’s to New Year’s Eve 2015, when we will look back on the year with joy at our accomplishments and new skills!