It’s that time again – HAPPY NEW YEAR! Another year, another blank slate of endless possibilities that we hope are better than the last year. Every January 1st people make resolutions to make a difference this year with the best of intentions. Then we get too busy to go to the gym, we get too stressed to quit smoking, we don’t have time to plan and execute healthy meals. It’s a very common story – why is that?
We take a specific date and decide that it has to be a fresh start and that everything will change from this point forward, but we put so much pressure on ourselves that it ends up being counterproductive. Perhaps people feel the motivation to make a commitment to themselves and to making a change before they’re ready and that is why it doesn’t stick. It’s much easier to be in your comfort zone of your routine, so why change? Maybe that’s why the top 10 list of New Year’s resolutions is the same year after year:
In the New Year, it’s almost like you have to come up with something to say when people ask you if you made a resolution. As for my own personal resolution dilemma for 2014, I have no idea what it is going to be yet. I am in a good place in life. I have most of the things I need, but now I have to figure out what else I want and how to make that happen. As often as possible, I try to remind myself of wise words from one of the great influences of our time: Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
What this quote says to me, is to not get so wrapped up in the big picture of life, that you miss the small pleasures. Looking at the larger picture and deciding where you want to be a year in the future instead of focusing on how to shape your life on a daily basis using small steps to get you where you want to be could be part of the problem as well. Rather than looking at the top 10 list of New Year’s Resolutions and picking one by closing my eyes and putting my finger on one of them, this year I am turning my resolution outward to make a difference to others.
In a world with so much stimulation and multi-tasking and where everyone is always on the go all the time, it’s difficult to take a minute to breath, let alone take some “me time” without scheduling it weeks in advance (and then rescheduling it because things come up!). Sometimes our minds can wander about what we have to do that night, what are we making for dinner, do we really need to do a load of laundry tonight or can it wait another day. There are mostly internal thoughts and to do lists, but if anyone else can admit it, I’ve caught myself doing it while speaking to other people! It’s a terrible habit that I really want to break. It’s not that I’m not interested in what other people are saying, it’s just that I’ve gotten so used to multi-tasking that it’s hard to shut off!
In 2013, like everyone else, I had some hard times and luckily for me there were people in my life who were amazingly supportive and I am incredibly grateful. There is no amount to measure the appreciation I felt for them and no gesture that seemed appropriate to convey my gratitude. Those are the big things in life that we are used to giving tokens of thanks for, but what about the smaller ones? The little things that mean so much to us, but we don’t really give much of a sign of appreciation, other than a thank you text or Facebook message. What about those?
One of my good friends has a new significant other and I had invited them over for brunch one day. I didn’t think was a grand gesture, but a couple days later I received a very touching thank you note via snail mail. It was so unexpected and so special that she would take the time to extend the gesture of thanks in a letter. We often take the simplest acts for granted, so in 2014 and going forward, I want to help other people to feel as special as I did at that moment.
Lastly, we have an amazing opportunity in the Jewish young professional community right now. The new (401)j program kicked off with a very successful Vodka Latke event; the leadership is an amazing mix of collaborative effort; and the people involved are highly invested in seeing the program succeed. The strength of this program, in my eyes, is the joint effort of the leaders and their commitment to build something that the Jewish community of greater Providence hasn’t had in the past. However, the direction of (401)j cannot just rest on their shoulders. It has to be a community effort with all of the (401)j members wishing to grow the program and move it forward in the same direction of betterment as the leaders. We all deserve a community we are proud to be a part of.
With that being said, my resolutions for 2014 will be to become a better listener, to write more thank you notes, and to be more involved in my community. I encourage everyone to make your resolution for 2014 to be as simple as just to enjoy life more than you did last year and see where it takes you.
WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY 2014!