By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers
Don’t set yourself up for failure in 2007 by making unachievable New Year’s resolutions, like trying to block SPAMs from your computer, evading taxes or attempting to get off someone’s Christmas card list.
It just ain’t gonna happen!
The solution: Dumb down your New Year’s resolutions!
Wait, no, New Year’s Resolutions for Dummies is not the answer. What I really meant to say was to redefine the way you define your goals for the coming year and the way you measure your successes and so-called failures.
My so-called failures in the later part of 2006 are actually going to serve as jumping springs to help me reach my goals in 2007. Funny thing is, I didn’t realize this until Christmas time when weeks of frustration, stress and what I thought were failed plans were followed by an internal peace, which let me know I had not in fact failed, but rather, God had a better plan.
I’m not going to tell you how to make your New Year’s resolutions, but for me, that means a major shift in my very way of thinking, a change of focus from outer to inner satisfaction. This may be deep for some of you, but for me, it’s about living a more balanced life, which takes into account more than my personal New Year’s resolutions.
I feel like I spent this past year trapped in my own selfishness as I strove to accomplish my goals. When someone needed a helping hand, I was too busy. When I wanted an excuse not to deal with life, I kept myself busy. In this day and age, it’s not hard to be busy, and that’s not always a bad thing. But when we find ourselves trapped in our busy-ness, it’s time to step back and do a reassessment.
I had a former co-worker in Texas who was convinced the newspaper would not make it to the press, let alone the streets, unless he was there. Let’s not kid ourselves. The world will keep turning without us.
The real question to ask is, will the world be a better place without us?
Sadly, the answer may be yes in some cases.
Will we leave a lasting mark to somehow improve the life of others? That’s the question we should ask when we set our New Year’s resolutions, not “What can I gain or lose this year (as in pounds and bad habits)?” but “What can others gain from my resolutions as well?”
If your goal is to lose weight, will others benefit? Perhaps yes. You’ll be a more fit person. Doesn’t that obligate you to use this fitness for the good of others?
If your goal is to complete a college degree like I did this past year, then it shouldn’t be all about you and finding that perfect job. While that is part of it because that’s why you went to school, it should also be about giving back to those who helped you along the way. For me, that would certainly mean my family.
And if one of your New Year’s resolutions, like mine, is to be a more frugal spender, it should not be about penny-pinching as much as about eliminating unnecessary waste and spending your money on the right things.
My New Year’s resolution is to live a balanced life. That means not only getting more fresh air and exercise, but balancing my time between work, studying and play. I didn’t get enough of the latter this year and that’s my fault. We need to make time to be kids again because that’s what keeps us feeling young.
I also resolve to spend less alone time, something I did mostly by personal choice this past year, but which I feel only isolated me. Some people can use more alone time, but I could benefit from less.
I’ve always remembered the advice a priest, Father Jose, gave me one stressful day when I lived in Hobbs. He said: “We need to live a balanced life, and that means being in harmony with God, with others, and with nature. When one of these things is out of sync, then our whole life is.”
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org