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New Year’s Resolutions: End Up Somewhere on Purpose

We’re approaching Jan. 1, which means … New Year’s resolutions!

Whether you make them or not, there’s something about a new year that means a

fresh start.

Maybe 2012 was your best year yet, or maybe it was a year you’d

rather just forget altogether. Even though resolutions often end up broken by

Valentine’s Day (the parking lot at the gym on Feb. 14 is a way different

story than Jan. 2), I think there’s something worthwhile about setting

goals. Not crazy, unattainable goals that you make in a moment of panic about

the coming year, but realistic goals that provide some accountability for

living with intention. They say that everyone ends up somewhere, but not

everyone ends up somewhere on purpose.

I don’t tend to make a lot of resolutions in January, but I

do reflect in July, when I celebrate my birthday. Some years I’ve grown and

changed so much that I hardly recognize the girl from the year before, and

other years I feel like I’m just an older, more tired version of who I was. So

this past year, when I hit the big 3-0, I didn’t want the year to go by without

accomplishing some specific goals. I copied a friend’s idea and made a 31-by-31

list. I came up with 31 things I wanted to do by the time I turn 31 next


I posted it on my blog as a way to keep myself accountable

to it. Some things were simple and even silly: try eating fish (I have never

liked seafood), achieve gold status at Starbucks (accomplished, thanks to the

pumpkin spice latte), become a better packer (I end up at my destination with nothing that matches). Others were more serious, but

still attainable: journal every day for a month, plan a really great surprise,

write the children’s book series I’ve been talking about since college. I

printed the list and keep it in my planner so that every few weeks I can see

the progress I’ve made and what I still need to tackle.

I know I probably won’t accomplish all 31 items, and I’m OK

with that. The point of the list isn’t to guilt myself into doing and being more, but to live this year with

intention. To end up somewhere good on purpose.

I love the way Shauna Niequist describes it in her book Cold Tangerines, and I read it every

January to remind myself that this is how I want to start the year.

We could

just live our normal, day-to-day lives, saving all the good living up for

someday, but I think today, just plain today, is worth it. I think it’s our

job, each of us, to live each day like it’s a special occasion, because we’ve

been given a gift. We get to live in this beautiful world. When I live

purposefully and well, when I dance instead of sitting it out, when I let

myself laugh hard, when I wear my favorite shoes on a regular Tuesday, that

regular Tuesday is better.

What’s your take on New Year’s resolutions? Do you make and keep them?  What helps you set and

then actually achieve the goals you set?

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