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Lessons Not Resolutions

For most people around the world, the new year is a time for rebirth, new hope, and a chance to do things differently — a clean slate. New Year’s resolutions are also very popular, but statistics show that very few people actually keep their resolutions for long. Just compare the attendance of any gym in March to that in January.

Instead of making resolutions for this new year, try looking back at the lessons you learned from last year. Stop and take some time to reflect on all that has happened in 2023. Anything that might have stood out. Don’t forget the little things that make up the day-to-day. Maybe you spent a lot of time with your grandchildren or took on new responsibilities at work. Or maybe you even finally had the chance to start the garden you’ve been talking about. Big or small, hit pause, and think about what you’ve been through in the previous year.

1. Evaluate – What went well and not so well? All of us make decisions every moment of every day. Some of those decisions are better than others. Think back about some things that stand out to you that you feel were smart decisions. It could be the way you handled a situation with your child or some advice you gave to a friend. All of us also make poor decisions from time to time. We might have gotten irrationally angry with someone or had trouble controlling our junk food addiction. All of us make both good and bad decisions but the important thing is learning from them.

2. Take the win – What went right for you, in your opinion? It only has to have meaning for you. What were things you were proud of? It could be any sort of achievement. Did you read a lot of books, start learning a new language, or finally start your exercise program? Did you go back to school, get a promotion, or even start eating better? It could be anything. This is your chance to give yourself a well-earned pat on the back.

3. Count your blessings – Real success comes from an attitude of gratitude. Many people get stuck in a loop of negativity. True, sometimes bad things happen to good people, but everyone has something to be thankful for. It could be anything. An opportunity to mend a relationship, a cake you baked that turned out perfectly, or five pounds you lost. It could even be memories like a day at the beach or a coffee date with a friend. If you think about it, you will be surprised how many things you have to be grateful for once you get started.

4. Lessons – After looking back on everything that’s happened, the good, the bad, and the ugly, what did you learn? If you take a long, honest look at yourself in the mirror, what are your priorities, and what do you want them to be moving forward? What are some big things you would do differently? How can you be a better person, and are there better ways to help people in the future? Have you been the kind of friend and relative that you want to be? Are there people that you need to reconnect with, and are there relationships that need to be mended? Do you owe someone forgiveness? Are you as strong as you want to be spiritually? These are just some of the questions that need to be asked and answered to help you gain perspective and refocus for the coming year.

So, this year is not about making the same promises to yourself that you know you will break soon because you have broken them every year for as long as you can remember. This year is about learning from history to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. It is also about being grateful for the things in your life that have real value, such as friends and family.