This Is For All Of Us Who Are Overwhelmed By New Year's Resolutions

I've always been an overachiever, over thinker, a fixer and a giver so you would think I would take to making New Year's Resolutions like a fish takes to water. But sadly, I have to admit, that's not the case. In every year that I made a New Year’s Resolution, it was broken in that same year. I don't think I’ve ever honored one for more than a few weeks. Eventually, I stopped making them because I didn't want to feel like a failure. Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed by the gravity of them.

When my husband was terminally ill with brain cancer, I felt something was missing when the New Year came around. Everyone was still making resolutions and talking about them quite happily. Being overwhelmed by my husband’s illness, I couldn't even imagine making a resolution. A promise that I’d have to keep all year, when I didn't even know what was happening day to day in my life? Yet, I knew I needed something to keep me on course, something to start the new year off with, and most importantly, something to look forward to and get excited about.

I realized while my situation was grim, I had lots to be thankful for. Instead of making a full blown resolution and facing the disappointment of not honoring that commitment all year long, I would find a word that would direct my life and set my intention. That year my word was "grateful." Each day I thought about at least one thing that I was grateful for. But more important than that, I took it one step further and tried to do things for others that would allow them to feel grateful too. That set the tone in a positive direction for my life. Frankly, I was able to handle some very tough situations with this mind set. In subsequent years I chose the words that would set my intention, mindset and behaviors towards myself and others. Each word had high significance for me because it gave me an opportunity to grow; not just on January 1st, but all year long.

This year my word is "receive." I'm a self-help junkie. In all the self-help books & workshops I’ve taken they say women need to learn how to receive to be in our feminine energy. If someone gives you a gift, don’t say “Oh you shouldn’t have,” say, “Thank you” and accept it. I have never felt comfortable with that. I don’t know why, maybe I felt I wasn’t worth it. Maybe I felt my lot in life was to do for others. Maybe I felt their needs were more important than mine. Maybe I felt the need to be liked and recognized. Maybe I just felt guilty taking.

As a “fixer” or “giver” by nature, I felt I had to be the one to give. I was in a relationship with a man who liked to do little things for me like bring my favorite coffee or hot chocolate as a surprise. I always said thank you, but I never really felt I said it with much appreciation. I see now that I was so wrong because I denied the “giver” the enjoyment of seeing me “receive” with pleasure and no questions asked.

When my granddaughter Kennedy handed me a picture she drew, I say “thank you” and accept it from my heart of hearts. Why should it be any different than anyone else giving me a gift? A gift is really not ours to refuse. Even though I love to give gifts, I realize I hurt others' feelings when I don’t accept their gift from my heart of hearts.

I want to be one of those people who can graciously accept whatever is offered, whether it be a gift or someone lending a hand to make my life easier. When someone wants to do something nice for me, my reaction will be to keep my heart open and to graciously accept without hesitation or overthinking. I will be grateful that they have taken the time to think about me, my wants, needs and likes.

So I will smile and say “thank you” with grace and style and enjoy the moment. It feels way better that way. I’m getting much more comfortable with it. So this year my word is “receive” and my biggest challenge isn’t in giving, but it’s accepting graciously when others choose to offer.

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