Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Thoreau

Why do we use the term “New Year” yet we don’t have a way to refer to the year that is drawing to a close, like “Old Year?” Why do we make new year’s resolutions without reflecting on what happened in the past year? Or better yet, why do we make new year’s resolutions at all, when we know how rarely we keep them? After all, we usually make resolutions about what we don’t want… and that works about as well as trying NOT think about a pink elephant. 

Over the last ten years I’ve stopped making new year’s resolutions. As is often the case, I was dropping something I knew didn’t work for me, but I didn’t yet have a replacement.

Seven years ago, my life coach, Melita DeBellis, demonstrated to me how powerful it is to imagine my future when she asked me to write a paragraph about how I envision my life unfolding in the next ten years. I, of course, made a comment about lack of money being a barrier, and she said I should make as if it wasn’t. And so I did. I wrote that I would like to go to school to earn at least a Bachelors Degree; that I would like to learn German; that I would like to go to Germany, Austria, or Switzerland for longer than a three-week vacation; and that I would like to have three books published. I also wrote that I would like to do adult literacy work. That leaves me three more years to publish two more books and get involved in some kind of adult literacy work. I think I can do that.

Using what I have learned from Melita, I have come up with a system that works for me — that is to reflect on at least three things I am grateful for in the year that is drawing to a close and to envision three things I would like to have happen in the upcoming year. 

This year the things I am grateful for are:

1. My family: I am especially grateful for sharing my life in this cozy home with David.

2. Good health: something I have learned I should never take for granted.

3. Friends: I have a wonderfully warm and caring set of friends, both near and far.

4. The publishing of my first book: something I have been envisioning for more than fifteen years.

5. My Bicycle: I loved going for evening rides with David this summer and fall.

6. My Freedom: This is something I appreciate so much after I spent the first 23 years of my life answering to others in nearly every aspect of my life.

And the things I envision for 2011 are:

1. A successful launching of my first book.

2. Collaborating with David for writing the sequel that includes our story of a forbidden love.

3. A contract (including an advance) for this second book.

4. Feeling fit and strong as well as healthy.

5. Traveling to Europe with David.

6. Completing our home.

Are there things you are grateful for that transpired in the past year? And are there things you envision for the new year? What are they?
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9 thoughts on “Reflections”

  1. Amen to what Katie said – the list is simple and not overwhelming and lets me think in a way that works for me. I would say for being grateful – health and employment. For 2011 I’d like to envision more organization for myself, and just doing some small projects around the house. I haven’t given it much thought yet. I will now though – I really liked this post ~

  2. I decided the same thing a few years ago, about no resolutions. Why make one when the same thing happens every time? I simply think of the great things that happened in the past year, and how great the next one will surely be.

    Miss you, Aunt Salmoa!
    Your niece,

    P.S. Wen that second book is finally made into an awesome movie, remember me for casting as your part!

  3. Katie T, so glad you found the post thought-provoking. Have you started another blog? I sure miss yours!

    ImPerfect Housewife, thank you for the compliments. Your “items” sound modest, too. I’m hoping you’ll have all you envision come about in 2011.

    Niece Katy, where have you been? My emails to you have been coming back to me… will you email me, so I have your latest address?

    Katy, you are certainly a lot wiser than I was at your age… it took me until only a few years ago to recognize that I don’t keep resolutions. You are what we all want to be… young AND wise.

    I’m sure if my book/s get made into a movie, I will have no say about who acts in them… but I would recommend you, and be very honored if you play my part. But, we are way ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Maybe it’s something for us to envision in 2012 or 2013… smile.

  4. A wonderful post … I like refelcting on the past years and taking stock of where I am and where I’d like to be. It’s a bit easier now that the children are grown, but there are still so many things to do and share! In God’s grace, I’ll get things done and be proud (in a good way) of my accomplishments and learn from my mistakes. No real “resolutions” for me either … not for many years! HA!! I’m still overweight but not as much as I was and hope to lose some more. Not exactly a resolution, but more like a healthy plan for a healthier life.

    Happy New Year (and Old) to you!

  5. Hi Saloma –

    Many of us are realizing there’s a huge difference between New Year’s Resolutions and goals. Without an action plan and firm commitment to follow through, NYR’s evaporate with the first sign of difficulty.

    I’m grateful my mother is still with me after a recent heart attack and mini-stroke. I’m also grateful for the good health I’ve enjoyed this year.

    Happy New Year,
    Susan :)

  6. Susan, thank you for your comment… I had never thought of that before… that we are more committed to goals than resolutions and that resolutions evaporate with the first sign of difficulty. That is so true!

    So glad your mother pulled through, and I hope you continue to enjoy good health in the coming year and beyond.

    Kind regards,

  7. Hi Saloma,

    Forgive such an untimely response but I am a newcomer to your blog, after the first post I decided to go to the beginning and catch up. So apologies for replying to a 2+ year-old post but perhaps it will prompt others also.

    I am thankful for each new day I am given. Any day without a toe tag is a good one.

    I am thankful for my husband and that he has recovered very nicely from two health challenges.

    I am thankful for family and friends near and far, and those loved ones who have moved beyond for the lovely memories they left.

    I am thankful for the wonderful array of beauty and life in this world. To see the colors of the sun reflecting off the eastern clouds in the morning or the western clouds in the evening. To hear the songbirds joyful greeting a new day in the morning. And to hear and see the geese flying to their morning feeding grounds and returning in the evenings.

    My goals for the coming year are:

    To continue learning and reflecting on new experiences.

    To let go of my fear that my knee will give out on me and take the dog to the ponds for more entertaining walks.

    I will continue working on the NaNoWriMo project that I started last November and make more frequent postings to my blog.

    Saloma, thanks for the prompting!

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