A New Year and a Fresh Start

A blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

New Year’s Eve signifies the end of one year and the start of another—it is a time for reflecting on all that has occurred over the past 12 months and then looking toward the future with a renewed sense of optimism. For many people, 2016 may have been a difficult year—one that was fraught with difficulties or loss and 2017 represents a fresh start and a time to be filled with the hope that the next 12 months will be better than the last.

Many of us use this fresh start as a time to make resolutions—to lose weight, to quit smoking, to get organized, or to tighten our financial belts. But, alas, many of these promises will be broken before January even comes to a close. One so-called “cheat day,” where we allow ourselves to indulge in just a few extra calories or to make just one shopping splurge, all too often leads us back into familiar old habits. Maybe the secret to successfully following through on our New Year commitments is to stop “resolving” and to start planning. As I told my daughter when she was discussing her own resolutions for 2017, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Perhaps the key to successfully changing a habit or adopting good habits is to steer clear of making generalized statements and to be specific about the steps we will take toward achieving our goals. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds,” break down that goal into a series of actions that will lead to weight loss. A defined action is a little more tangible than something as generalized and obscure as “losing weight,” and once you have taken an action toward your goal, you get to cross it off your list—a very satisfying and gratifying feeling.

The new year is not just a time to commit to making physical changes or improvements—it can also be a time to reflect on ourselves, our attitudes, or our behaviors and to consider how we can become better people, more fulfilled, in essence, happier. For many of us, finding the happiness we desire may be a matter of simply changing our perceptions. Are we seeing the glass half full or half empty? Are we grateful for even the smallest things in life—a warm home, food on the table, good friends in our lives? When we are grateful for what we have, we cannot help but feel happy.

With 2017 now upon us, let’s take the time to consider what actions we can take that will help us to reach our goals and realize our dreams, but always while remaining grateful for all of the blessings we have in our lives.

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