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New Year's Resolution?

A new year has dawned and with it comes the ritualistic custom and pressure to change, reinvent and improve ourselves. I marvel at how the calendar can dictate the need for new outlooks and fresh starts. We could just as easily commit to new habits and goals in July or even November…but January’s tradition is to evaluate and then revise our circumstances. If change is ever going to occur there’s no more appropriate time than the new year to start the process.

As if magically, eight hours after the old year ends, we awaken to new opportunity. Uncharted waters, perhaps, but more likely the object(s) of our resolve have been addressed and forsaken on numerous previous occasions. Carefully planned goals often result in disappointing outcomes. The best intentions are aborted by our inability to persevere and we end up being our own worst critic.

The structure and discipline that comes from creating and adhering to goals is beneficial. A vision for success and achievement is important for guiding our course; however, what is often overlooked is the measuring device used for our successes.

What promises have you made to yourself for the New Year? Have you quantified the improvement you will make in your family relationships? Have you set a goal for changing personal behaviors or habits? Maybe you’ve set your mind on new risks or leaps of faith. As important as any one of these undertakings is the motivation for achieving them.

A major predictor of successful accomplishment is the reason for seeking it in the first place. Determining whether your aspirations are based on personal hopes and dreams… or the pressures and expectations of others, will impact your likelihood of seeing them through to fruition. Equally as important is the satisfaction you will experience from reaching the goal. Realizing our own dream is the true indicator of success.

Planning, goal setting and striving are all recognized steps for achieving a certain result but we can never be certain that the outcome will be what we envision. The saying “be careful what you wish for” is illustrative of this concept. Consequently, many ancient and new age philosophies embrace the idea of ‘letting go’.

Letting go is not a surrender of personal power or an abdication of responsibility. Moreover, it is a release of control over that which we truly have no influence, in favor of attending to the things we can affect such as relationships and personal passions. Essentially, forging our own definition of a successful life means disregarding the societal importance placed on temporal matters.

Personal success is just that: personal. What it looks like and how you get there is up to you. Whether you subscribe to the world’s standards or create your own is for you alone to decide; as is knowing when you’ve arrived. Dedication and hard work are admirable traits to a point. Letting go and giving into the wonder of each new day and experience may be the best new year’s resolution you have ever made!

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