Maintaining Your Resolve

Another New Year is upon us.  All the holiday decorations are gone and the bills have arrived.  Are you facing the new year with a sense of hope?  Or are you left asking, “Is this all there is?”  If you are feeling down, or even just a bit unsettled, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at your expectations.  Examining our disappointments can lead us to a new appreciation of what we have as well as help us to plan where we want to be.

A gift from Ebenezer

I was talking to a friend right before Christmas about what we think is important about the holiday.  He revealed his favorite part of the year is watching Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol.  He can’t wait until the Spirit of Christmas Future reveals the future Ebenezer Scrooge faces if he continues down the path he is currently walking.  He really appreciates the reminder that the Spirit shows one possible example of Scrooge’s future.  The message the Spirit brings is that we choose our future based on our present behaviors.  The gift of A Christmas Carol is that it is within each one of us to choose the future we want to have.  The question you must ask yourself is this:  are you making the choices today that will lead to the future you want tomorrow, or in ten years?  If not, why not?  What do you expect the outcome to be if you don’t?

An outstanding life

A while back I had the opportunity to hear a motivational speaker who was very dynamic and inspiring.  His position was that we each should strive to be outstanding in all aspects of our lives, not just our professional lives.  I had occasion to speak with his wife shortly afterward and commented on her husband’s outlook and presentation.  After a long pause, she told me they had recently separated.  Living an outstanding life was apparently not going to be as easy as this presenter made it sound.  In fact, it is often quite difficult to become the person we want to be.  Just because it is difficult does not mean we each should not make our best effort.

Paraphrasing Mahatma Gandhi, you must be the change you want to see in your world.  We spend a lot of time asking and waiting for our partners to change so our relationship will be better.  If, as the Spirit of Christmas Future reminds us, we take responsibility for making our lives look the way we want them to, then we have to look only to ourselves for our own happiness.  Believe it or not, when we take it upon ourselves to behave in an outstanding fashion toward others we increase the chance they will return positive with positive.  Think of the last time you smiled at someone first.  More than likely they returned that smile.  In addition, they probably passed it on to someone else.  Your behavior is like that smile.  By being the person you want to be, regardless of what your partner is doing, you can change your future.  When you change your expectations to reflect what is within your own ability to do, chances are you won’t be disappointed in the outcome.

Most of us got a visit from the Spirits of Christmas only through the television.  It doesn’t make the message any less powerful or meaningful.  The message is a simple one, not an easy one.  Depending on ourselves for our own happiness means looking deep into our hearts and deciding what’s important.  It also means taking responsibility for making our lives look like we want them to look.  It’s about setting the stage appropriately so our expectations can be met.  If you are not doing that already, or want to do it better, keep reading.  I will be offering some possibilities on how to make this happen in the New Year.

May you all have a happy 2008.

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