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A New New Year's Resolution

By Susie Cortright

This is the time of year when it's most difficult to stay on track with our goals.

It's also the time of year when we're all in a rush to make new ones.

It seems to me that we all have a certain ideal, a certain way of living, that gets completely blown each holiday season.

We can't stick to a diet because, every time we turn around, we're met with a truffle. Either the house is in shambles with suitcases, pine needles, candle wax, and dirty dishes, or we're not even home. We're out of our routine. Our minds are chattery. Our bodies are in crisis mode, searching in vain for some broccoli and a treadmill.

Do you suppose that, perhaps, this isn't the best time of year for any serious and purposeful reflection?

During the holidays, we are buried to the neck in "shoulds." We should not get snappy at Aunt Bernice. We should not be eating crème sauce on the vegetables. We should be spending at least an hour a day at the gym.

It seems to me that most New Year's Resolutions are cleverly disguised and noble-sounding "shoulds." And who needs more of those right now?

In fact, this year, for me, there will be a paring down--and not a building up--of the shoulds. Over the past month, I have re-examined my shoulds to determine which belong there, and which, out of kindness and gentleness and plain-and-simple personal integrity, do not.

It started with a day of deliberateness; a day in which I questioned all of my assumptions. Before I popped anything into my mouth, I asked myself whether I liked its taste--or whether I was simply accustomed to it.

I walked through my home, taking a long and deliberate look at the furnishings, decor, and knick knacks to see whether I really liked them and whether they served any meaningful purpose.

Then I took the same eye to my list of shoulds. I'll admit that I'm plagued with a few assumptions that continue to hold on with both fists, as much I've tried to shake them off the list.

The experience was really rather liberating. To attempt to adopt an unbiased perspective and asking: Do I really like this? Is this really good for me? Is this really important to me?

At the end of such a day, I demanded honesty from myself as I answered: What do I truly value? What is most important to me? How important is my spirituality, my family, my professional identity?

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Then I crafted a new mission statement, written for me and my work. Who am I? Who am I to be?

This is such a wonderful instrument for clarifying your purpose in life. The statement may include your values, your priorities, your philosophy, your commitments, your goals. How do you wish your children to live? Are you living in such a way?

It allows you to identify and define your life philosophy. Your spiritual beliefs. That which you find useful. That which you find beautiful.

When you write such a statement, do so in the present tense. Sign the statement in bold ink and place it where you'll read it at the start of every day.

Then expect a shake-up of your shoulds. You may be surprised at the subtraction of certain long-standing and familiar goals, and the addition of some unexpected new ones.

Don't rush the process. Let it rise organically from a careful study of your life and the way you endeavor to live it, deliberately.

© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground - Join her scrapbooking club here: or learn more about starting your own scrapbooking business on Susie's team.

Read more articles by Susie Michelle Cortright.


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