Approaching the New Year

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

Every year at this time I blog about New Year’s Resolutions – whether to do them, how to do them, and my thoughts on how to make them stick. I’ve read articles about them, and even this book from author Debbie Macomber about meditating for the entire year on One Perfect Word.

A couple of years ago, I identified that for me to be successful with my goals, I needed to first identify the underlying emotional reason for the goal. For example, most people’s resolution to “get in shape” or “lose weight” would translate to “feel good about myself” and “look good to others” and “live longer and feel better.” I thought maybe we’d have more power in our annual goals if we connected to what was really driving us.

Another year as I examined my list of New Year’s Resolutions, I found they were uninspiring and I needed to find the joy in them, or I’d never accomplish them. Finding the joy became my mantra for that year.

This year I’ve been thinking about the fact that people take all kinds approaches to New Year’s Resolutions, from making a long list of detailed goals, to choosing one word, to shunning the practice altogether because it’s just a recipe for failure anyway. I know everyone has to find what works for them.

But here’s my insight as 2012 comes to a close:

How wonderful that the transition from the old year to a new one inspires many of us to think about our lives, to reflect on the past and acknowledge what we might want for the future.

However we end up — with a list of resolutions, or goals, or a single word — I think it’s the fact that we even think about our lives in this intentional way is the important thing. It’s the process that counts. It shows that we have a desire to improve ourselves somehow, or at least to be our best selves in the upcoming year.

And I love that about humanity! Regardless of where we are in life, most of us desire to do better — not materially, but just as people, we want to be the best we can. We want to put the effort in to living the best life possible. We don’t want to waste it. That says so much about us, doesn’t it?

So wherever you come down on this whole “New Year’s Resolutions” thing, I encourage you to embrace your own desire to be the best person you can be, whatever that means for you. Express it however you want, with goals or a single word or a rejection of the New Year’s traditional altogether. Just be you.

And I wish YOU the very best in 2013.

Tell us: How will you mark the transition to the New Year? Goals, resolutions, a single word? A party, an evening at home watching the festivities on TV? Will you stay up till midnight or turn in early?

21 Responses

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  1. I long ago abandoned New Year’s Resolutions. Even though I am a goal-oriented person, I tend not to follow through on these, possibly because unlike my writing goals, they are too vague. Eating better and exercising more are great goals, but how do I add exercise into a jam-packed schedule. You truly need to be motivated and have a desire to do it. I don’t.

    This year, our family will watch the ball drop in Times Square from the comfort of our little home. As for how I’ll make that transition, I’ve posted results of my 2012 reading challenges; posted about the 2013 reading challenges I’ll participate in, and set some goals for what I would like to accomplish with my writing in 2013. On a personal note, I would like to increase my Bible devotion time. I did better in 2012 than I had before, but am still looking for ways to eek out more time for it.

  2. Navdeep Kaur says:

    I like to divide my life up so I can easily organize my goals and focus on them without discrimination. It rarely turns out that way, but I like to think that I start fair.

    My resolutions for the next year will focus on academic success, accomplishments in my writing career, my full-time-career establishment, a re-dedication to my spirituality, regaining the musical talent that’s slipping away from me, and my health. I had a couple of tough years, but I feel I’m ready to get back on track.

    I will start the year off at the Sikh place of worship (gurdwara) as I do every year. My major goal for the next few days is to make sure I don’t carry unnecessary weight into 2013.

    Happy New Year everybody!

  3. New Year’s is my favorite holiday. There’s still Christmas spirit left and the sense of renewal and anticipation is just fabulous. And any holiday that commences with fireworks is a good one (you can guess my 2nd favorite holiday then).

    The “one word” thing does not work for me. I thought my word for 2012 would be Serenity. Turns out it was Surrender.

    I don’t know if I’ll stay up to midnight. I’d like to but not sure it’s worth the shortened night’s sleep since I have a standing 6:30am wake up call courtesy of my 2 year old. I’m not doing any of my usual New Year’s traditions this year. Just wanting to take it as it comes.

    • Jeanne T says:

      Surrender is a good word, Charise. 🙂 I’ve learned a lot about that particular word over the past few years. 🙂

    • Beth K. Vogt says:

      I’m not so certain the “one word” thing didn’t work for you … maybe it’s that you found “serenity” in “surrendering.”
      I chose “simplicity” as my one word in 2007 — the year I dealt with a life-threatening illness. That was my year of surrendering too. Took the word “simplicity” to a whole new level of understanding.

      Just a thought …

    • Jan Thompson says:

      Me too! I don’t remember the last time I stayed up midnight EST to greet the New Year, fireworks notwithstanding. I figured it’d get here when it gets here. Besides, I sometimes celebrate vicariously with the islands of Kiribati, Tonga, and New Zealand, so I figured that puts me ahead in terms of time zone LOL. Happy New Year!

  4. Jeanne T says:

    I’ve never been into resolutions. I just don’t keep them. My husband is big on goals, and I usually set some with him. I did the one word idea this year, and my word was passion. As I read and studied it, God brought lots of opportunities to better understand what passion is and how to work in it in my daily living.

    My word for 2013 is Perspective. He’s showing me I have a lot to learn about this one. I’m looking forward to it. Mostly. 🙂

    As for New Years Eve, we’ve done game nights in the past where we’ve invited friends over to enjoy playing games and eating snacks. This year, we are going to relax and go to bed early.

    Happy New Year, Rachelle.

  5. Each year,including this year, I resolve to go back to my basic Christian principles – which is to Love One Another and to spread Joy – a message of the Gospels.
    Recently, I discussed goals with my son, who is preparing to graduate college. As we talked about the future, he introduced me to the concept of Kaizen. Kaizen is a Japanese word for improvement that refers to activities that continuously improve all functions, with no specific parameters attached. It was made popular after the Second World War and originally applied to business. It has now been applied to healthcare, general life-coaching and other areas. It is basically a philosophy of continuous improvement, applied to all people at all levels. Kaizen is a daily process that brings a humanized approach back to our lives, to our workplace, and our personal lives. If this philosophy helps me to respect other’s journeys, connect on a personal level and improve my goal of trying to Spread Joy and Love in our current world – I’m all for it.

  6. Rachelle, this is incredible. Several days ago i decided my 2013 resolution would be to focus on the other person rather than on myself. I have given thought to why in English we capitalize i but don’t capitalize You. Caroline Winter wrote an essay on the subject as a guest writer in William Safire’s New York Times op-ed space on August 3, 2008, saying that “I” is majuscule (as compared with the minuscule “i”).
    So i get to the end of Your post and You have written,”And I wish YOU the very best in 2013.”
    And the same to YOU, Rahelle. As for my plans for New Year’s Eve, i, for one, will, at age 70, be turning in early.

  7. Beth K. Vogt says:

    I love how you’ve examined the idea of New Year’s resolutions from so many different angles, Rachelle — and given us so much to think about.
    I’m a “one word” gal — after misplacing my list of resolutions year after year after year. One word works for me — sometimes in ways I never imagined.
    And New Year’s Eve is often quiet for us. My husband worked New Year’s Eve for many a year –trading off with other docs so he could have Christmas day off with our family. So we never got into a tradition of going out — or staying up late, for that matter. Some years we do, some years we don’t. We’ll see what this year brings.

  8. Lisa says:

    I think that you are right. The fact that we think intentionally about being all God called us to be is so important. I usually set goals, but I often find God had very different plans for me throughout any given year. I write them down loosely, knowing some might take on different shape and form under God’s direction.

    We def. stay up until midnight, but at home. I like starting a new year with my family close by.

  9. I like reflecting on the past year and focusing on how to live better the next year.

    I do set goals. Even if I don’t accomplish everything, it helps me to strive for a specific goal. For example, in 2012 I attended my first writers’ conference. I hope to attend another conference in 2013, and maybe I’ll be more outgoing.

    We will definitely will be up at midnight.

    Happy New year!

  10. My resolution this year is to wait. I need to learn to wait for God’s guidance and not try to handle everything, plan try to predict the future myself.

  11. Patiently. 🙂

  12. Sue Harrison says:

    What a beautiful post, Rachelle. Thank you. You always make me think more deeply about a subject, whether it is about writing or about life.

  13. Peter DeHaan says:

    Call me a dork, but on New Year’s Day, you’ll find me updating the copyright year on my blogs and websites to include 2013. Yeah, I’m that much fun.

  14. Jenny Leo says:

    Great post. I love the “one word” idea–will give some thought to what my word might be.

    I’m a veteran resolution-maker and -breaker. It helps when I break them down into a month at a time. That way they don’t seem as daunting, and every month is a little fresh start.

    It also helps if I focus on process rather than results. For example, I can’t really control the number on the scale or whether a piece of writing will ever be published, but I CAN control how many days I exercise and how many days I achieve my word count goal. A month counts as a success if I exercised on XX days, made my word count goal on XX days, etc. Then I feel I’ve done my part and the results are in God’s hands.

    I also like to set some goals in September rather than January. I guess I never got over that back-to-school frame of mind.

  15. Reba says:

    I’ve never been one to make resolutions, but I do make a list of goals as a writer each year, one that is reachable. I keep that list where I can see it through the year, and check off what I accomplish, and that helps me stay on track a little more.
    For 2012 I had 9 things on my list of goals, and Praise the Lord I achieved 6 of those, but one of those was not a success as some would see it. I see it as a success because; I Prayed about it, and worked on it and learned it was something that was not for me…or not right now anyway.
    Happy New Year Rachelle, I have enjoyed and learned very much from you blog this year.
    May God continue to bless you.

  16. Dale Rogers says:

    I’ve never been fond of making resolutions, but one year, when I was a teen, I decided I’d stop biting my nails, and I haven’t done it since!