Make hope a priority in 2018
I’m one week away from my due date and this is my next-to-last column to you, my dear readers, before I take maternity leave.
This column is being written on the verge of some big changes for us all. Not only are we starting a new year, but I will also be welcoming a new little one into the world. A new year, like being a new parent, leaves one jumping into the unknown hoping for the best and trying not to mess things up too badly.
Looking back, 2017 has been full of changes, both good and bad. The way we understand things such as social media, tweets, government, basic human rights and more have changed in a way that will affect many people’s worldview for years to come.
The good news is that we all understand that these things deserve an even better understanding from us and we can all stand to do a little work to improve ourselves and the lives of those around us.
On the newspaper side of things, it’s been another year of meeting new folks and telling their stories. Other than my co-workers, that’s the second best thing about my job.
You all know that I don’t know a stranger, and I’m so glad that in 2017 I’ve been able to make a couple of hundred strangers into what I now consider friends.
I’m also thankful for you, my devoted and savvy readers, who have been so kind to keep reading and sending me kind words. Those little acts of kindness have made for quite the impact for me over the year, so thank you.
Now preparing for 2018, I hope for continued change, but of course in a good way. I hope for prosperity for all of us. I encourage us all to be a little kinder and more willing to accept each other for who we are. Life is too short for us to lose our minds over something as silly as someone not thinking exactly as we do.
There’s a great quote that a friend of mine posted via social media the other day, something that puts together how we should approach the new year.
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
– Albert Schweitzer
Before I leave you to enjoy your New Year’s Eve with family and friends, here are few suggestions as to how to kick start a successful 2018. Happy new year and enjoy.
Set an intention instead of a resolution
Resolutions are frustrating because they’re an “all or nothing” approach to accomplishing goals. But making positive changes in your life isn’t about the end result, it’s about the process. So make sure to prioritize intentions over resolutions. That way, you’re more likely to stay focused on the how instead of on the pass or fail results.
Choose a theme or ‘focus word’ for the year
If you want to be the change you seek, skip the quantifiable goals entirely and choose a theme or “focus word” for your year.
Themes are helpful because you can’t really quantify or track abstract goals like “being a better mother,” or “being a kinder person.”
Take the word and print it out or write it down, then put it somewhere you can always see it. Maybe on your computer monitor, above your door or on your bathroom mirror. It will serve as a memory peg, always reminding you what this year is all about.
Commit to helping someone else
Changing for the better doesn’t have to be about you. In fact, the best way to change ourselves is often by doing things for others. Maybe you have a friend who’s seen better days, or a family member who’s struggling. Or perhaps it’s a good time to start volunteering at that nearby community center or soup kitchen.
Highlight last year’s accomplishments and imagine the highlights of the upcoming year
Perhaps you don’t feel the need to make any big changes in your life. That’s perfectly acceptable, especially if you’re already on the right track.
Even so, it’s still helpful to use the new year as a landmark on your road to success. Look back on your favorite memories and triumphs of the past year.
Think about all of the times you overcame hardship, solved problems and came out on top. And don’t forget to track your efforts too, and recognize how hard you worked. It will get you pumped for taking on challenges in the new year.
After you’ve done that, make a list of five things you think will be highlights in your upcoming year. The events on your list can be as small as you like, but make sure they’re things you’re fairly certain will happen.
Don’t worry about lofty goals. Look back and realize how awesome you are, then think about how awesome things will be.
Make a small goal just for January, then for February, and so on
If you absolutely must have a measurable, quantifiable goal of some kind, think of something simple. Take your resolution, break it into small, achievable parts, then toss the resolution in the trash and forget about it.