If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I don’t much care for New Year’s resolutions.
I regard them as life’s revolving credit card: A way to postpone the changes that we should address earlier than we do. Putting them off until 12:00 a.m. on January 1st makes us feel better - less guilty, I suppose - about not working toward our goals and chasing our dreams.
This year, though, I may actually make a New Year’s resolution, and not about changing what I will do or will not do - but about changing how I live.
I’ve noticed that in recent months, I’ve too often been falling into discouragement. I mean, look around: It seems like every day, there’s another tragedy or yet another pressing issue that we know will affect all of us, yet there’s not very much we can do about any of it.
We talk about it, we pray about it, and we mourn with those who mourn; but often, most of it seems far removed from our everyday lives, and we can become so burdened that we risk believing that there’s no point in getting involved.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t care, and care deeply about these horrible events and disturbing trends. Of course we should, and we do. But there has to be balance; more than that, we need to be careful of being so distracted by the things we can’t directly address, that we miss the opportunities to affect our own little corners of the world. If you notice the emotional impact of the chaos all around us, you’ll find that too many people are on edge, worn down by the constant barrage of bad (often frightening) news.
In my own life, I’ve found myself turning negative lately, sometimes fighting the impulse to simply withdraw from it all. Retire. Walk away, and let life happen as it will.
Now there's a bad idea, right? Because far more than idle hands, discouragement is evil’s workshop - because discouragement is contagious.
Yes, I definitely need an attitude fix. There’s a lot to be done out there. Like I always tell my kids, discard the idea that evil will triumph when good people do nothing… Because good people can’t do nothing.
So for 2016, I’m making a commitment, and not to anything on the outside of myself. My New Year’s resolution will be a conscious decision to engage the world with the optimism, the sense of purpose that comes from a gently guarded heart - because the changes I’d like to effect in the world will not come from a person who doesn’t see the point in getting involved.
But hey, why put it off? I’ll start living my resolution today. I hope you do, too, and then let's raise a glass to a wonderful, joyous, and meaningful tomorrow.
See you next time. Until then, have a Happy New Day (and Year) -
Jenna Brooks is a coach, a consultant, and the award-winning author of the October Snow series. She welcomes your comments through her website, Jenna Brooks Online.