What is it about the new year that causes us to pause and reflect?
We think about all we’ve done, or wished we’d done (or wished we’d NOT done).
We think about relationships that have come and gone.
Loved ones that have passed too soon.
New life being born.
Moving into new homes and new lives through marriage or divorce.
New experiences, new challenges, new growth.
We have closed out 2016. It is now a year that we know just about everything about. We have experienced all it has to offer. We can no longer go back to 2016.
In hindsight, many of us look at the year that started out with “This is going to be a great year!” and end it with “I can’t wait for this year to end.”
And the reason we pause and reflect? Because of the promise of something new, a new beginning and a fresh start. We get to leave all the losses behind, and bring many of the gains with us.
We set goals, or resolutions. Because, “THIS will be the year that I … __________________!
Last year, this and that happened. But not this year. This year I am in control! This year will be different.”
As I sit here and reflect on this past year, and think about all that has been lost and gained, I remember these things:
I have had my heart broken every single year.
I have experienced JOY every single year.
I have cried every year.
I have laughed every year.
I have fought every year.
I have loved every year.
I have made mistakes every year.
I have made memories every year.
I have lived in the present moment every year.
I have been distracted every year.
I have lost closeness with friends every year.
I have gained friends every year.
Although every single year has brought with it unique challenges and difficulties, it has ALSO brought with it joy and hope and peace. I have NO idea what this year will bring. So, for that reason, instead of planning my life as if I can count on anything, my simple resolution is this: Resolve to live intentionally.
I have set my goals for this year and my future, and I will set my sails in that direction, but those things are nothing if I lose my loved ones along the way and had not been intentional and present with them.
I will continue to reach for the stars, but it will all add up to nothing if I have not lived my life in a way that demonstrates who the One is who died for you and me.
I will not stop stepping out of my comfort zone and boldly sharing the message that is in my heart through this vehicle of The Resolved Life, but even that will come up empty if I have not intentionally added value to each person I met, face to face and behind a screen, along the way.
I am not promised tomorrow, it is as simple as that. So I Resolve to live my life, today and every day, in such a way that the words I speak will have LIFE and PURPOSE. I hope that everything I share with the world can be a ripple in the water that adds value to someone, long after I am gone.
I pray that if nothing else, at the end of this year, that my life would have demonstrated a love that is without condition, without expectation, but that simply gave love because I had it to give. And that each person I come in contact with would have felt that, through a smile, or a kind word, or more.
This is my hope, my prayer and my resolution for today and every day moving forward.
SO, for our action step (and so that these are not just empty words!) here are some questions we can ask ourselves to set ourselves up for success by living with intention:
1) What is the first area of focus for me?
Maybe it’s reducing gossip, or being wary of things we post on social media. Maybe it’s being intentional in a specific relationship. Maybe it’s getting intentional about this FIT LIFESTYLE, and deciding to quit all the yo-yo dieting, obsessive behaviors towards food and exercise, and finally feel freedom.
2) What is my first step in becoming intentional in that area?
If we are reducing gossip, who do I normally gossip to? Is it possible to distance myself from this relationship for a time until I develop a habit of resisting the temptation to gossip? If not, how will I remind myself to not get involved in a way that is firm, but still loving toward my friend?
If it’s to be more intentional in a relationship, where can I add this value that is meaningful to that person. Maybe I can learn their love language and work on serving them in that way at least once a day.
If it’s about living that fit lifestyle, where will we start? With breakfast? Focus on what I pack for food at work? Creating a plan for avoiding the junk in the breakroom, or the temptation of fried foods with co-workers at happy hour?
3) How will I know if I’m on the right track?
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” -Peter Drucker
The only way we know if we are moving forward in this way is if we know how to measure it. Right now our measure should ONLY be for our actions, because we cannot determine the outcome. Eventually we can see if we have been consistent with our plan and it is not showing fruit, it will be time to change it up. But for now, simply mark a way to know if you are sticking with it.
Will you use a journal? A tiny notebook that you keep in your purse that you jot down every time you resisted gossip, or did something sweet for a friend? Find something SIMPLE that you will stick to and RESOLVE to keep yourself accountable.
You ready, friends?! Let’s DO this! Write your own story!