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VOL. 131 | NO. 254 | Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dr. Mary C. McDonald

Resolve to Improve Each Day in 2017


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New year’s resolutions are tempting to make, and they are even more tempting to forget. In spite of the insatiable appetite our society has for self-improvement and excellence, good habits just seem hard to acquire.

With the beginning of each new year, we seem compelled to conquer the past by focusing on the future in at least one resolution. For many, making a new year’s resolution is like being stuck in a time warp. Resolutions are repeated year after year, hoping for the change we have a habit of resisting. The outcome is often the same: Nothing changes.

Unfortunately, a quick fix is not real change. Changing your external circumstances before changing yourself, your internal circumstances, what’s inside, may not be the way to start. Once out of your comfort zone, you resist even your best efforts and fall back into the trap of complacency, excuses and being “good enough.” Just on the other side of that resistance, however, is a world of possibilities, a better version of yourself poised to evolve.

In failed attempts to create the perfect life, to reach the perfect weight, have the perfect finances or get perfectly organized, you may often become discouraged and stop trying. If this happens you may miss the opportunities to seek the self-improvement that will last.

If you only resolve to change one thing, perhaps you could start by appreciating the potential of each new day, by appreciating those around you, and by appreciating the difference you can make when you realize it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for others.

When it comes time to make your new year’s resolution, may I suggest the following way to spend the year of self-improvement?

There are at least 365 opportunities every year to make somebody’s day a little better, to give someone a reason to hope, to release someone’s dream deferred or rejoice in someone’s success. There will be at least 30 chances a month to encourage, inspire or give someone a vision of what could be. There will be 30 times to share laughter, tears and stories. There will surely be at least seven times a week to choose love, forgiveness and kindness over any other emotion that would diminish the spirit of another. There will be opportunities to speak up, to speak out and to choose courage over fear.

There will be at least one opportunity a day to bring peace to any situation. Peace is not the absence of war; peace is the absence of the reasons for war. To be at peace is to resist those reasons: greed, envy, anger, pride or any emotion that will diminish others. Peace in the world begins with peace in ourselves and ripples gently into our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our communities.

It is an advantage to have new beginnings year after year – not to suggest a reformation of some sort, but fresh starts, filled with promise, hope and a chance for continuous improvement.

Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a National Education Consultant, can be reached at 901-574-2956 or mcd-partners.com.

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