Today is the first day of 2015. This is the time of year when resolutions are made, when intentions are set, when we start fresh. Many of us are reflecting deeply on the past year as we look forward to a new year. We think about what we might have done differently, and we resolve to do better in the future. We make commitments about exercising, dieting, drinking less alcohol or drinking none at all. We promise to save money, floss every day, be perfect recyclers. We decide we’ll volunteer every week. We vow to get more sleep and to be more mindful of our bodies. In the days and weeks leading up to this first day of the year, we contemplate change and look forward to new beginnings, we plan our goals and compare ours with our friends’. We make lists, we spend money on gym memberships, we join weight-loss programs, we buy exercise equipment, even our grocery shopping shifts in preparation for our new life, which begins today.
In truth, our new life – a new day – a new year – begins every moment. Our new life is now. We are as good as we are at the moment, and honestly, that’s plenty good enough. For me, when I am intent and determined to forcibly change something I am doing or some thing about myself I am not happy with, I know it won’t work. I’ve tried enough times to know this. Maybe, a few days or a few weeks will pass with success, but it won’t last. I will fail, and then I will flog myself for my failure, and then I will flog myself even more because this is yet another failure to add to my pile. When I am focusing on the failure pile, I somehow forget anything good I have done or accomplished. I neglect to remember the simple goodness in my heart. I start to believe I am unlovable. So, now, I don’t commit to unrealistic resolutions. I try to set my goals in the spirit of kindness toward myself rather than with the idea that I am not good enough and I need to make myself better.
This year, I want to work toward living in the moment, lamenting less about the past and worrying less about the future. I want to gain a deeper sense of gratitude for what I have and for who I am. My goal for this year is to be attentive, to listen, to be present. When I pay closer attention to the world around me, I experience a greater joy. If I am joyful and smiling, I am more apt to spread that joy to others. My aim is to be kinder to myself and be less judgmental about my imperfections. In this way, I find it easier to be committed and resolute about my goals and life in general. I will keep it simple this year. I hope to maintain some semblance of balance and peace — even when I feel waves crashing against me. I will write, I will sew, I will create. This is simple. This is what I love.