New Year — New Me?

people clinking glasses making a new year toast

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous
new year by believing.

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

I’m not much for making New Year resolutions — or maybe it’s more that I’m not much for keeping resolutions. Like some people, I used to find it easy to sit down at the year’s end and promise to exercise more, be more organized, or stop eating so much sugar. You know, try and kick bad habits or establish good ones.

It never worked. For a while, maybe as long as three months – I would try diligently to uphold my resolutions. But, sooner or later, I would slip, throw up my hands in defeat and resign myself to another year of failure (usually with a chocolate chip cookie stuffed in my mouth!)

Image: Getty Images Signature from Canva

Last year, I decided to try something different. I created a list of twelve words — one for each month. Words that I hoped would help me focus on growth, discovery and/or happiness.

It was a great exercise and somewhat successful. At least I suffered no guilt, and I did succeed in emulating (or trying to emulate) those words every month.

This year, I thought I would choose one word for the entire year that would serve as a keystone to helping me learn more about myself and create more joy in my everyday life.

I thought a lot about what word to choose — one that could impact my life every day of every month. One that would serve as an anchor when I feel stressed or anxious. A word that would help me find meaning or purpose when I feel overburdened or discouraged. One word that might help lift me up when I feel alone or blue.

It was more difficult than I imagined.

One Word

There have been many conversations about being grateful this past year. This struck a chord, so I chose “gratitude” as my word for the next 365 days. I consider myself to be a grateful person, but am I really? I decided to put that to the test and focus on “counting my blessings” for an entire year. I am curious to learn if practising intentional gratitude for an entire year will make a difference in my life. I hope it will be a journey of discovery — a new year — a new me!

Photo by microgen from Getty Images via Canva

Have you made any resolutions or chosen a focus word for 2023? Perhaps you are doing something unique? Tell me in the comments!

Gratitude — January 1st, 2023

Today, I am thankful for an early morning walk with my husband and our dog. We drove to one of our favourite spots — an urban forest in the middle of the city. We were the first ones there. The day’s light was beginning to illuminate the forest paths. The dog happily explored the scents of the forest floor as the three of us moved through the quiet of the tall trees, listening to the birds’ morning song. I feel deeply grateful for the many beautiful parks in our city. On this day, we saw mallards and wood ducks paddling on the lake amid the trills of red-winged blackbirds in the trees. We noticed the work of the resident beavers — the evidence of their labour in the number of felled trees! The forest in winter is quiet and subdued — all earthy browns, neutral grays, and deep greens. There is a hush in the winter forest that is soul-soothing. I breathe it all in, and I am grateful.

Photo: Cathy Johnston

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