Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thinking about the New Year

We attach significance to the turning of the calendar, and when the calendar turns to a new year, it means more than learning to change a digit when we write a check -- we’ve started a new chapter.  I was on yahoo today and there were a dozen articles about New Year’s resolutions and how no one can keep them.

I thought perhaps if we attacked them differently we might have different results.  So rather than a list of items that you should do because you want to be a better you --  like lose 50 pounds, stop smoking and such, all of which are hard and lengthy items requiring renewed motivation on a regular basis --  try this list on for size.

* Read one book you’ve wanted to read.
If you are a big reader, you already have a stack to read. Pick one and commit to getting it read. If you read less and don’t have a book in mind, talk to someone you trust and admire and ask them for a suggestion. It doesn’t matter what the book is; pick it, and read it.

* Make a list of the things you’ve learned this year. (I got this idea from a post on a yahoo group for The Essential Herbal)  Hopefully it is a long list! Don’t try to do this all at one time. Give yourself a place to write and a couple of days to allow your mind to find these nuggets.

* Identify the top five.
Review the list you made and pull out the five that are most important to you. Write them down and think about why they are so valuable to you and how you can benefit from them today and in the future.

* Spend one day in service to others.
Volunteer your day to a service organization. Go to a nursing home. Rake the neighbor’s leaves. Use your professional skills in a pro bono way. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it with a giving heart.

* Make a list of the most fun things you have done this year.
You will have fun making this list -- and yes, I do mean make a list!

* Identify why they were the most fun so you can do more of it next year.  This only makes sense. Once you have thought about your “most fun,” figure out how to get more of it into your life -- whether it is an experience, time with specific people or whatever.

* Choose one herb to get to know.  Read about it.  Find a photograph.  Get some seed and try to grow it.  Find ways to use it in cooking or other recipes.  Tell other people about it.  See where exploring this herbs takes you—Does it relate to other herbs?  Is it a companion to other plants?  Do you meet new people while exploring about it?  Does it taste, smell, look or otherwise remind you of another herb, seasoning or plant.

* Make a list of things you want to learn next year.
Some things in life we learn serendipitously, and those are precious indeed. But we can also determine what we want to learn and why. Make some of those determinations now before you turn your calendar to the New Year.  

Some of these items in my list are forward-looking tasks, some retrospective. That is intentional. It is important for us to consistently and regularly reflect while looking out at our future.  This action allows us to see where we have been as we look to where we are going -- and correct our course to get where we want to go.

Making a resolution does not have to be a chore.  Make it into an adventure instead.

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