New Year’s Resolutions That Last A Lifetime!

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As every New Year rolls around most of us start thinking about our resolutions for the new year. How many of us actually remember the ones we made the previous year? What makes these resolutions so short lived? Is the whole concept for not? How can we make this yearly ritual something that has a more lasting effect on our lives?

The idea of pausing and thinking about areas we want to change or improve is a great one. However, often we make these new year’s resolutions with haste and without a plan. Maybe your goal is to drop 20 pounds or start exercising more. Or maybe you want to give up a bad habit such as smoking or eating fast food. These are great ideas; however, there needs to be a heartfelt commitment behind them for the change to occur. Impulsivity usually only motivates for the short-term.

I am purposing that you take a broader perspective on their new year’s resolutions. I am encouraging you to commit to making your life the life you want to live and embrace. First and foremost make the conscious choice to be the active director of your life. What? What do I mean by that? How many of you feel like you are walking around life just waiting for the next shoe to drop or next turn in the road to come? It is easy to get discouraged and just respond to life instead of being more proactive in creating the life you want. This is not about being able to control everything; however, it is about being aware of what is happening around you and of how you want to respond to it. This is the opposite of putting your head in the sand.

One of the most important ways of actively directing your life is to become clear about what you value most. What is most important to you in life? Is it the amount of money you make in a year? Is it about the car you drive or the house you live in? Or is it important to you to have good friends and strong family connections? What about giving back to your community or having a reputation of one with integrity. Resolve to get clear about what you value so that you may feel more content in life.

As you become clearer about what is important to you, you can commit to building your life in alignment with your values. When your life and value system are congruent, you will be more self-content and usually more successful. Your fullest, most creative self will be available when you are living in harmony with your inner most values. This is the truest way to happiness.

My hope is that at this time of year you will invest a little more energy into evaluating your life overall. Put a little more thought into your new year’s resolutions so that at the end of the year you will not only remember what resolutions you made January 1, but can also do a “year end” summary of your improvements!

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The Gift of Giving!

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I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas are finished with your shopping! If not you are going to be having a joyous time fighting the hustle and bustle of the crowds. This thought of gift giving made me think of another very important aspect of gift giving…and it doesn’t cost anything! I invite you to think about, along with any tangible gifts you are giving the people you care about; what intangible gift do they need to receive or you need to give to them this year?

When I think of intangible gifts I think of aspects such as patience, kindness, thoughtful, intuitive, encouraging, and motivating, along with many more. These gifts are priceless. And when you give these gifts to those around you it can be a breath of life to them. So I encourage you to think about the different people in your circle that you are giving tangible gifts to this holiday and think about which intangible gifts you need to strengthen in that relationship. I encourage you to name the person and the associated gift.

And then there are the many intangible gifts that we can all learn to give more of on a daily basis to people we know and to the strangers that cross our path. Your kind actions often have a larger impact on the personal receiving than you can ever realize. You never know what kind of morning that person has had when you decide to be generous and let them go ahead of you in line at the store because they seem rushed. You don’t know the story these strangers come to you with and your intangible gift of patience or kindness may be just what they need.

I believe we each have within us these intangible gifts and are capable of being intentional about bringing them forth more often in our daily interactions with others. I encourage you to think about which of the qualities are more natural for you. Maybe you are a natural encourager, or someone is very welcoming. Maybe there are some of your intangible gifts that you would like to bring to the surface more often; such as patience. It is always good to self-evaluate and asses which qualities in you could use more attention. So in the spirit of giving I implore you to think about ways you can give more of these intangible gifts this holiday and throughout the year.

What Are Your Personal Gifts?

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For many of us this time of the year is a time of gift giving and all that entails. And this thought about gifts brings to my mind the concept of taking time to identify and claim our own personal gifts. Possible this is something you have already done and are aware of and you can name these gifts and are already utilizing your gifts.

However, I am cognizant that for some of you it is difficult for you to acknowledge your own good and your many talents and gifts. So I implore you this holiday to allow this to be the gift you give yourself: taking time to time to identify some of your unique personal gifts.

Personal gifts fall on a broad spectrum. Possibly one of your gifts is that you are very creative or crafty. I have many personal friends who are so creative with just about anything. They can turn a box top or old can into a fantastic gift. Your personal gift may be that you are very welcoming and attentive to others. Maybe you are an exceptional hostess. Or perhaps you are very intelligence. Or maybe you are good at fixing just about anything.

The range of personal gifts is so broad that I cannot name them all here. I will tell you that personal gifts are not always tangible like the creative or mechanically gifted. Many personal gifts are ones we cannot see or touch; like one who is very intuitive.

So for instance, I believe that one of my personal gifts is that I am extremely social; I am a strong people person. And when I don’t use that gift it adversely affects me. My mood and energy is better when I am actively engaging in my personal gift. This gift is something I was born with and needs to be honored.

I want you to think about personal gifts as more than just what you can do; but more of who you are. I hope you will take time to name some of your personal gifts. And as you do this notice how you feel as you name them. And as you name them I invite you to claim these as authentically yours. I encourage you to examine yourself and ask yourself “How often am I using my personal gifts?” The more you engage on daily basis with your personal gifts the happier you will be.

The Gift of Friendships!

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This time of year reminds me once again of another precious gift that is more valuable than any gift that money can buy; that is the gift of friendship. As I think of friendships I am thinking of all the layers of friendships that I believe we need. This ranges from surface relationships to our most intimate friendships.

I think of the importance of having healthy acquaintances. These may be people that you see occasionally. Acquaintances could be your neighbor, or someone you do sports with or some other activity. Or they could be a work place connection. These are people you enjoy when you are around them however; they are not in your inner circle.

I also think of those we call a ‘good friend’. As you consider your good friends, I imagine this narrows down the number of people that fit this criterion. There is such a blessing in having a number of good friends that you can call on to do things with; to support you through the good and rough times.

Lastly, there are the few intimate, close friends that hopefully we are each blessed to have. These friendships are priceless. These are the few people that have traveled through thick and thin with you. These few close friends are ones that you can tell the full truth to without fear of judgment. These are your forever friends.

I believe each of us needs all of the above type of relationships. However, individually some need a greater number of acquaintances, a greater number of good friends or a greater number of close friends. This is based on the individual’s personality and disposition. I do know that we all need these types of safe connections.

I am often envious of people I know who have stayed close to people they went to grade school with, middle school or high school. They may not talk to these people on a daily basis, but they have kept this bond. These long-time friends hold so many shared memories. Even through long periods of not talking when you reconnect with this childhood friend it feels like no time has gone by at all.

During this time of the year I hope you will reflect on who the important people are in your life and if you haven’t thanked them or shown your appreciation and gratitude in a while I encourage you to do so. Not so much with physical gifts but via words, whether written or spoken, thanking them for the gift they have been in your life.

If there are some friends in your life that you have accidently neglected due to the many demands in your life, I encourage you to reach out to them and let them know that you still value them. Do not forget that these friendships are part of your anchoring; your support system; your encouragers. There is know getting around the fact that having a solid support system is one of the keys to having a full and complete life.

The Gift of Family During The Holiday?

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This time of year is associated with families reconnecting with ones that maybe they don’t see too many times during the year. Whether it’s parent’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins this time of year especially is when most are going to reconnect with the many facets of their family. And for many, and I am going to assume most, this is a wonderful, joyous time. And hopefully during your celebrations you enjoy each other and enjoy hearing new and old stories. And that overall you have a very pleasant experience fellowshipping together. That is my wish and hope for you.

And many are blessed with families that are safe, enjoyable, loving and encouraging. However, I do know that there are many out there that do not have these types of families. Although their families are alive and intact, sadly they do not experience them in positive, safe and encouraging ways. The holidays do not bring up joyful, exiting feelings for these people; rather conflict and discontent. Some choose not to spend the holidays with their families because the negative out weights the positive. And so I say to those of you in these situations, I hope you have safe and encouraging friends to support you during this time of year which is so focused on family.

Then there are those of us (and I include myself in this group) that have no family left. Our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters have passed on before us and we don’t have that family history; our anchor, to include in our present day celebrations. Unless the ones we are with today were a part of that family it is our own loss to bear and the family of today seems oblivious to the empty space.

While many of us may have a family of our own; spouse, children, spouse’s family that we may be blessed with enjoying, it is still different. Good hopefully, but different. In my opinion, unless you have experienced this kind of loss it is very difficult to understand. It is especially hard when you lose your parents and siblings early and they miss out on the new life you have built for yourself.

So during this time of glad tidings, I pray that you will always remember that there are many that don’t have the blessing of family that you may have. And that you will keep those in your prayers that either don’t have a supportive family or whose family has left this earth. And possible even extend a holiday invitation to them to join your family for the holidays. A welcoming spirit is a most wonderful holiday gift!