Chaplain offers resolution alternatives

‘Tis the season for making resolutions for change in our lives and reordering our priorities. It sort of feels like we begin with a clean slate. Who doesn’t like that?!

Surveys say that nearly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but many studies have found that people are generally pretty bad about keeping them. Only about 8 to 9 percent of us are successful in achieving our resolutions for the year.

Sad, but true.

I think the inspiration that the New Year provides for making positive changes is a good thing. Why not consider some non- traditional ways of ringing in the year instead of resolutions.

Check out these ideas from “5 Fresh Ways to Set New Year’s Resolutions that Stick,” by K. McPhillips in the January 2018 Well+Good Magazine.

1. Choose a one-word theme for the year. I did this for 2018. The word I chose was “beauty” because I wanted to become more aware of the beauty surrounding me each day. It really did help to remind me to look for beauty in non-typical places. Some other ideas: “wonder,” “presence,” “courage.”

2. Shed the old to make room for the new. An idea shared by author Elizabeth Gilbert is to make a two-sided list. On one side write all the things you’d like to leave behind this year. On the other side, write all the things you’d like to invite into your life in the next 12 months. Then do something special and meaningful with this list.

3. Create a personal mandala. A mandala is a series of concentric circles you can use to create a goal-achieving game plan, rather than a resolution. Pose a question to yourself: “What is my core motivation for change?” Place this word at the center of your mandala. The circles that radiate from it can become your steps you take toward this goal.

4. Write a “Dear Future Me” letter. This is way of creating a vision of what you’d like your life to be filled with this year. Be as specific as possible and keep the letter nearby for reference and inspiration.

5. Conduct monthly new moon rituals. A new moon can be symbolic of new beginnings and an invitation to move forward on our journey. Rather than all-encompassing yearly goals, perhaps monthly goals are more motivating. The first new moon of 2019 is January 6.

However you choose to prepare yourself for the year ahead, I wish you all a joyful celebration of the New Year and a 2019 filled with peace, joy and purpose.

Dorcas McCown, Chaplain
Elkhart General Hospital