“A New Year’s Gift to Yourself”

Merry Tenth day of Christmas to all of you and Happy New Year, as well. As we all transition into a new year, I hope that each of us will take some time to reflect on what we are most grateful for regarding the year that has just passed, and what we wish to more intentional about in the year to come.

One of the defining activities of the Christmas season is the giving and receiving of gifts. And of course, one of the defining activities of the beginning of a new year is the making of resolutions. As I hear people talk about the former activity–the giving and receiving of gifts–I sense great joy in what people share about their gifts to others. As I hear people talk about the latter activity, however–making New Year’s resolutions–I typically sense a very different kind of energy. When people talk about making their resolutions for the new year. I often instead sense underlying feelings of self-criticism, anxiety, and a long list of “shoulds” that people feel they need to live up to.

So, I have a suggestion. What if we were to bring the same joy and positive energy that we feel about the giving and receiving of gifts to the setting of new year’s resolutions? What if we were to think about our new year’s resolutions as gifts that we are choosing to give to ourselves?

When you or I want to give a lovely gift to someone we care about, we first take some time to think about what that person would really want. What would make them truly happy? The better we know the person, the more easily it is for us to choose just the right gift that we know will please them. What we desire most for the person to whom we are giving our gift is that our gift will bring them a great sense of joy. We certainly wouldn’t give a gift to someone else because we think it’s about time, they finally change something about themselves, and we hope that our gift will help bring that change about. If our resolutions or new commitments are, in fact, gifts to ourselves we would not want to have that attitude and mindset about this gift to ourselves either. Instead, we would wonder what new commitment could help us get what we really want, what would please us or make us truly happy, and what would give us a new sense of joy.

With this mindset in mind, I have decided to give myself the gift of three New Year’s resolutions for 2023.

First, I am more than ever determined to do my early morning way all days of the week as I love to walk and have a goal. Second, I have decided to read more books of different subjects, for instance the bibliography of several persons (ordinary and great persons) as I believe that reading is a major hobby and a booster for better health. In addition, I will follow a daily reading plan of sacred books like the Bible. Doing each of these activities is a gift I can give to myself. Upon reflection this new year I realize that I tend to work more than is good and thus I need more rest and play in my life which the walking, gardening, and playing with my dogs will help with. Gardening is also lots of fun as I enjoy watching the flowers and plants blossom. And over and above all, I spend some minutes nurturing my spiritual life as it is always one of the greatest gifts, I can give to myself. I don’t feel one ounce of “should” or “have to” about any of these resolutions. I know it’s good to have plans for the new year, but I am already enjoying the benefits that the gift of these resolutions are having on my life.

You know yourself better than anyone. You know better than anyone what more of or less of in your life right now would make you happier and more joyful. Why not give yourself the gift of a new year’s resolution that will help increase your sense of balance, wellness, and wholeness, and thus your overall sense of well-being? And there is one additional benefit to approaching the setting of a resolution as a gift to yourself rather than as a “should,” and that is in the long run, there is a much better chance that you will stay with your positive resolution.

Let me end by quoting Memet Murat Ildan:

‘The New Year is made up of seconds,
And if you don’t make good use of even seconds,
You won’t make good use of the New Year’.

The Optimist


Posted by on Dec 25 2022. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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