By Christina Grand Porter
y now many New Year’s resolutions have already fallen to the wayside, abandoned. But there is a way to make and keep resolutions. All you have to do is make resolutions you want to keep and aim for those that will make you happy and improve your spirits.
We most often think of resolutions as things we will do grudgingly and many of us have had the same ones, unaccomplished, on our list for years in a row. They usually involve saving money, losing weight, being better at this or that and a myriad of other things we consider good for us. But since being happy is good for us, why not make happy resolutions? View your resolutions as wishes you can make come true. So what do you wish for? Do you want to make new friends? Try joining a book discussion or specialty group where you will meet others who share your interests. Do you want to get better at a particular skill? Then practice, practice, practice. Find that thing that gives you something to look forward to. It’s a beautiful gift to bestow upon yourself.
A perfect resolution is to do something every day just for you. What things have you abandoned that you used to love because you feel you no longer have the time? Just by adjusting your priorities, you will see that you do have time to read, go for that walk or work on hobbies. Resolve to savor each and every day of the upcoming year by making your happiness your number one priority. Take a quiet moment to enjoy the sunset, give up a half hour of television to sit and do nothing more than enjoy a nice warm cup of tea while you pet your dog, or abandon chores to exercise your mind with a crossword or number puzzle. Do things where you feel better afterwards than before you started. Begin by kicking out all those fears, worries and grudges and fill your mind with optimistic thoughts that make you smile. It sounds cliché, but count your blessings. Learn to direct your thoughts to appreciating what you have rather than obsessing on what you wish you had.
But if you really do want resolutions which will give you a sense of accomplishment, break them down into small steps. If you want to finally tackle cleaning out that garage or basement, don’t make that your resolution – it’s too overwhelming. Rather, ocus on erhaps clearing off one shelf or going through ne box a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than resolving to do the whole thing in one weekend, not doing it and then winding up ith o results. ven the smallest step at a time can yield a great outcome.
Look at the positive change your resolutions will produce instead of groaning over all the labor it will take. Taking small steps can turn into a habit and you may find yourself going out to clear your day’s shelf or box one day without any negative thoughts. Don’t lose sight of the fact that one box or one shelf a week will eventually lead you to a completed project. By the end of the year you could be standing in your clean space and thinking with pride that you finally followed through on your New Year’s resolution. Then you can decide what bigger and better things you’re ready to tackle next year.
There is an old proverb thought to be of German origin that says, “You can’t direct the wind but you can adjust your sails.” So find those things, those sails, that you can control, hold on and let the winds rant as they will. It’s you, and you alone, who makes the choice to ride out your year contently.
Christina Grand Porter is a Random House novelist who lives in Huntsburg with her husband, two dogs and one cat.