Each year, come the end of December or beginning of January, I notice how crowded the gym gets. The weight room is congested; there are long waits for certain machines; I can’t use my favorite elliptical because someone is already on it. But this doesn’t annoy me. I grin and bear it because I know that within a few weeks all of the people who are now filling my gym, who are in the midst of their New Year’s resolution to work out more, will be gone.

Because I’ve firmly convinced myself that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. (They certainly don’t seem to work for those people who are in the gym from December through maybe February.) And I therefore don’t make them. I’ve decided that New Year’s is made up, that it’s a day just like any other day, that I can make a resolution to change my behavior any time I want, and that making that resolution on New Year’s is pointless.

That’s what I’ve practiced and what I’ve preached in the past, but this year is different. Because this year I have actually decided to make a resolution. I’m resolving to practice what I preach.

This year I’ve decided that January 1st will be a new beginning for me – a conscious jumping off point to keep rewiring my brain and my beliefs. I’ve preached, here and elsewhere, about the importance of having a positive attitude, of looking for things to appreciate and enjoy, of going out of my way in every moment to notice my pleasures and my blessings. I’ve preached it and I’ve practiced it, and I’ve decided that this new beginning of a new year will be a new beginning for me to practice it even more.

To notice the chimes hanging on my side porch when the wind catches them and they resound with beautiful music. To look for the things I love in the people I love, even when they’re showing me something less than wonderful in the moment. To enjoy the blessings – in people, places, objects, and experiences – that surround me. To start my days off like this and call myself back to this mindset whenever I lose my way.

And I’ve decided that this will be a conscious new beginning for more compassion – for myself and for others. That I will catch my mind when it lambasts me, or my heart when it closes to others. I will remember my choice, my moment-to-moment choice, to come from love…or not. I will do my best to consciously choose love – to smile at a stranger, to open my home and my heart to those around me, to treat myself with as much love and understanding as I would a best friend.

This is my New Year’s resolution. And I’m making it out loud (in my blog) to remind myself. Happy New Year!

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