Lessons from a New Year...

lessons for clara

Dear Clara, One year rolls out, and a new one rolls in . . . I love the fresh feeling of possibility that the New Year brings, the crispness of winter, and the sense that there is a blank canvas of achievements just waiting for us.  Here is always what I think about for the year ahead:

  • Reflect on the year past: I think it’s only fair that before you leave the old year with abandon, that you reflect on everything you accomplished.  And be generous.  We so often focus on what we didn’t get to on our lists that we forget what we were able to do.  Sit down with your calendar and think about all the good things that came your way, and you’ll have a new appreciation of what you’ve been given and what you were able to do with it, even in the tough years.
  • Buy a new calendar: Nothing says possibility to me like the crisp, white, blank pages of a new calendar (except for maybe the crisp, white, blank pages of a new notebook!) This is where your plans will take place.  And this will be your record for looking back on everything that you will still accomplish in your new year.  Find a calendar that organizes you, but also inspires you.  They’re out there.
  • List out your resolutions: I see more and more that people make fun of New Year’s resolutions, they say we should be doing these things all the time.  That’s probably true, but in all reality, this is a time of year where we have a bit of time to slowdown to think about the direction that we’d like to go in, whether it be personally or professionally.  Writing things down makes them more real.  Keep the list short, but mix a few tangible things with a few dreams, and I guarantee you’ll get to both faster.
  • Do something for your wealth: Think about where you are financially and where you want to be eventually.  Are you moving in the right direction? Do you need to save a little more? Do you need to invest in your education a little more? Think about what makes you feel more secure and plan a few steps on that path.
  • Do something for your health:  Remember that your health is a gift, but it can easily go away when we don’t take care of it.  Maybe it’s eating a bit smarter, maybe it’s moving a bit more, but think about one think that you can focus on to take care of your body in the way that it deserves.
  • And do something for your happiness:  Try to think of what you don’t make time for but that you know would make you truly happy.  For me, these tend to be creative things.  I don’t have what most people would consider a creative job during the day, although for me it’s still rewarding.  But I look for other opportunities to get the creativity that I crave, and because it doesn’t become part of my work, I do it just for me and it makes me happy.  Look for just those one or two things that you know you should make time for, because it would help you find happiness in the other things that you do all day.
  • Think hard about the changes that others would like to see in you: For the most part, our resolutions are about ourselves, for ourselves.  But I also try to think of a quality that I know others would like to see more of in me.  Patience comes to mind often . . . so does mindfulness regarding things like phone calls and correspondence.  These simply aren't always my strong suit.  Your job isn’t to turn yourself into the perfect picture of what everyone else would like to see in you.  But chances are, we all have a few things that could use a bit of improvement on, and that little bit of improvement could translate into a whole lot of happiness to those that matter most to us.  This isn’t a time to be defensive, it’s a time to be reflective.

In this new year, and in all of your new and many years ahead, may I be the first to wish you all the health, happiness, success, mindfulness and joy in the world.

All my love,

Mom