More than once I’ve made attempts to follow the tradition of making a new year’s resolution. “Resolve to exercise.” “Resolve to lose weight.” “Resolve to floss teeth.” Yea, right. Has anyone actually succeeded with these clichéd goals? I might as well have spit in the wind. By Valentine’s day, my New Year’s resolutions were long forgotten.
But now, I’ve happened upon a New Year’s tradition that is useful and fun (ok, it’s not watching football, but still . . . ). I call it the “Hope and Cope Report.” Every year, I take a sheet of paper and make 4 columns: “Knowns”,” Unknowns”, “Wishes”, “Surprises”. On January 1st, I look forward to the long year ahead: I fill out the first three columns of what I know, what’s still up in the air, and what I’m wishing for. Then I bring out last year’s “Hope and Cope Report” and I look at the long year behind me and write down what really happened.
What I discover year after year is that the things I thought were “Knowns” didn’t always work out as planned. The “Unknowns” worked out in wondrous ways that I never could have anticipated, and some of the “Wishes” came true. And every year, there were unexpected “surprises” (both the fun and the challenging) that I never could have imagined.
Engaging in this annual projection and review ritual fortifies me. It reminds me that life works out one way or another through the passing years, and that unexpected gifts are abundant. Yes, spending 20 minutes at the top of the year with a snapshot of my life in motion somehow affirms the bigger journey. For me, I’ve finally found a resolution that I can actually keep!
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