I was at a holiday celebration not long ago with some people I usually see only once or twice a year. So part of the time was spent catching up on each other’s family events and activities. One of the women told me about several concerts she and her husband had attended recently. It’s been years since I attended a concert, and I joked with her that I needed to get out more.

That’s when she told me that going out to concerts and other events was part of her New Year’s Resolution last January. I was immediately intrigued. And impressed.

I still make New Year’s Resolutions every year, and I put some serious thought into them before I decide what they should be. They’re usually about self-improvement and learning, and involve healthy habits I want to develop, and things I intend to do or change about myself.

My friend said she was a bit embarrassed about that – the fact that her resolution was about going out and having fun, rather than “working” on herself. But I disagree. It’s too easy – and too common – for us to get so caught up in the work and routines of our daily lives, that an entire year can fly by before we know it.

Right now is the time of year when we look back with a sense of satisfaction and pride in what we accomplished and took part in during the past year, or with regret for what we missed out on or didn’t do. And we look forward to the new year with a sense of excitement and anticipation, or with resignation and dread.

It’s not an either/or proposition, of course. Whether we are looking forward or back, there is usually a mixture of joy and sorrow, of pride and regret, of wonder and worry in our lives. So why not take active steps and make conscious choices and decisions to add some pleasurable outings and adventures into our lives on a regular basis? New Year’s Resolutions – like the one my friend made last year – can help us do that.

I haven’t yet decided what my next New Year’s Resolution will be, and I still have a few weeks to think about it. Since I don’t need to limit myself to one per year, I may decide to have one related to self-improvement, and one related to activities I enjoy. I could even combine the two, by resolving to read a new book each month, partly for the pleasure of reading and partly to learn more about a subject I’m interested in. Or by taking a dance class both for fun and for the exercise.

Whatever I decide, I’ll let you know about it in an upcoming column. And I hope you, too, will start thinking about making a New Year’s Resolution, and setting an intention right now for growth, for learning, and for events and activities you will enjoy throughout the year.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on December 4, 2014.
©Betty Liedtke, 2014

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