I like to put inspirational quotes at the top of the white board in my classroom. When I went back to school today after my 2 week vacation, I wrote across the board "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten." That about sums it up. You can make all the resolutions in the world, but unless you change the way you do things, you'll never attain your desired goals. Making goals without putting a plan of action in place is like telling your kids to stop talking and go to sleep. It ain't gonna happen. (Or maybe that's just how it is in my house.)
This year, I only made one resolution and I took steps to make sure I can reach that one goal. My resolution was to put God first. It's not exactly that I stopped believing or anything, but admittedly, I've been wavering this past year or so. For some reason it's really easy to get swept up in all the negative that surrounds us day in and day out. It's easy to focus on all the bad. It's easy to get overwhelmed and depressed. But when you stop focusing on all the crap that keeps getting dumped on you and look outside yourself, it's amazing how things start to fall into place.
I remember the pastor at my church demonstrated this many years ago. He took a large glass jar and filled it with sand, then pebbles, then small rocks, larger rocks, and one very big rock. The last several rocks he tried to put into the jar, tumbled out of the overflowing container. They wouldn't fit. He dumped the contents out and started putting the rocks in once more. This time, however, he put in the largest rock, representing God, first. Next he dropped in the big rocks, representing family and friends. After that, he put in the small rocks - your job, and other important commitments. He then filled the jar with the pebbles - those hobbies and things that fill your time, but aren't really all that important. Finally, he poured in the sand which represented everything else in your life, all the trivial stuff. And guess what. Everything fit in the jar perfectly. When you put the important things first, everything else falls into place.
I got a new devotional book and read it every morning to start me off in the right frame of mind. I got a ring inscribed with Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future as a reminder when I'm feeling hopeless. (The ring is a mobius strip and mostly I just look at it and get a headache trying to figure out how it's possible. I'm convinced it's witchcraft.) I said goodbye to relationships that only brought me down. I put inspirational quotes all around my computer monitor at work in case I ever forget that I have the opportunity to be a blessing and an inspiration to everyone I come into contact with every single day.
Already I feel a little lighter. The burdens that have been weighing me down aren't quite so heavy. The headaches and sore jaw that I've been waking up with every day seem to have disappeared. Some exciting opportunities have come my way. A renewed passion for writing has flooded through me. Some amazing people have reached out to me in wonderful ways. It's just amazing what a little change in perspective can do! No longer do I feel filled with dread. I'm looking forward with anticipation to what this year will bring! And I hope you are too! Just remember, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. If you want something different, maybe it's time for a little change.
P.S. I did make one more resolution - drink more wine. It's important to have attainable goals, after all.