2019; it was a good year for me and I hope the same for you. As I reflect I can recall accomplishments of both a personal and professional nature, days filled with smiles and happiness (the “Wolfpups” and family time getting credit for many of them), and late night moments of stillness that fostered personal reflection and conversations with my Dad. Likewise there were challenges, but without them life would be boring; I’m stronger now because of those challenges, so keep ‘em coming in 2020!
The tradition of making resolutions for the new year is ancient and common to both Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Ancient literature reveals the Babylonians made promises to the Gods at the beginning of the calendar year. The Romans began the year similarly, by making promises to the God Janus, for whom the month of January is named. During the Medieval era, knights took the “Peacock Vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to reaffirm their commitment to chivalry. According to the American Psychological Association, the tradition continues today, with 93 percent of those surveyed reporting that they create New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately a second study by US News and World Report revealed that by the second week of February, 80 percent will have dropped them. So what is the problem?
We often find that the most common resolutions are related to losing weight, eating healthier, exercising regularly and saving money. They are what I like to call, “All About Me” resolutions, those which focus on changing some component of ourselves; something that does not come easily. Even when self-initiated, change is challenging, as It is often an emotional experience triggering stress, self-doubt, and eventually, frustration. At this point failure is a step away. But what if I told you that a mere focus shift will significantly enhance your chances of keeping a New Year’s resolution? It’s not difficult, simply stop thinking about yourself and resolve to create better days for others by doing, “Just One Thing”.
Think about how your day is brightened when someone takes one small action that serves to make you smile or reaffirms your belief in the basic goodness of the human spirit. So why not resolve to do “Just One Thing” each day that brightens another’s life. Maybe it’s writing a thank-you note, checking-in on that elderly neighbor, sharing a “Good Morning” and a smile with a stranger, letting that person balancing coffee, a muffin, and yogurt go in front of you, or better yet, handing the cashier your card and saying, I’ve got it!
Each day this year resolve to do “Just One Thing” that makes someone else’s life just a little sweeter. This simple resolution won’t make you wealthy, help you lose weight, or create abs that look like a six pack. Nor will it eliminate political divisiveness, stop global warming, or balance the budget, However your decision to do “Just One Thing”, may be the highlight of someone else’s day and helps them believe that tomorrow will be a better one because of people like you!
Just One Thing!
Embrace the Challenge!
Happy New Year!