Celebrating an Annual Close

New YearI hear noisy fireworks outside, the sign of people celebrating the close of another year. I needed the reminder that there is always something to celebrate when we finish a year.

I always suffer with melancholy at the end of the year. As a child, it was because the Christmas season and break was coming to an end. As an adult it’s because I’m haunted by the goals and resolutions I didn’t achieve. My unfulfilled expectations discourage me. I’m plagued with wondering how I can better plan for the New Year and actually complete my goals. Instead of progressing each month, it feels like I’ve been regressing.

The antidote to my despair is hopefulness in the things I have accomplished, and gratitude for the people in my life who make it possible. A change of heart occurs when I reflect on the blessing of family, friends and experiences of the past year with a grateful heart. When I’m thankful I find peace with my life and my relationships.

When something good happens I like to write about it in detail. When I’m feeling down, I’m lifted when I read it. I’m finding it hard to write lately, partly because I’m out of practice so it takes more time, and secondly it’s difficult to make the time. Fortunately, I’ve taken time to at least capture some of the good times with pictures.

These pictures help me remember the joy I’ve experienced this year. Maybe I achieved more than I originally thought.

Forgive yourself

This month I didn’t accomplished near the things I traditionally do in December. It’s the first year I didn’t hang Christmas lights outside, or send out Christmas cards. I didn’t bake sweet bread like I wanted to for my neighbors and friends. Luckily the world didn’t come to an end and my neighbors and friends are still good to me. I hear them outside with joyous fireworks. They are finding reasons to celebrate tonight. I think I will close this article and go join them.

 

Give ThanksI thank you for being a part of my life’s journey.

 

What 2017 accomplishments are you celebrating tonight?

Time for Reflections

IMG_2032_Cropped

Christopher, Jen, Katie, Eldin
Mark and Barbara – 2013

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over. Now my thoughts turn to the New Year. Eager for new beginning, I’m filled with hope for a successful year. My goals are similar to last year’s with renewed faith that I can do better.

As I reflect on this past year, I did not reach my goals—I’m still not punctual; I’m still over weight, and I did not write the book I’d planned. It’s remarkable I don’t give up on these goals. I must truly believe that I have not failed until I quit trying. Life is interesting and rarely goes the way I planned. However, I do believe setting goals, is the strongest force for self-motivation.

Although I did not reach my goals, there were small victories, pointing me in the right direction. I did take a writing class to improve my writing skills, January through May and I did get two chapters written and edited. I also joined the American Night Writers Association, and I’m a part of the Salt Lake Storytellers Chapter. I have learned a lot about writing and publishing, and I realize I have a lot more to learn. I have put my book goal aside for now to concentrate on my blog and writing technique. Some time in the future, I plan to use my blog articles to help me complete my book.

Another victory, not on my goal list, was keeping up with my job as an account manager for Earthwork Property Management. I have deadlines for specific tasks for my job, and do not think of them as goals, but I’m relieved every time I meet the deadline—especially this past summer, while Mark was hospitalized twice for blood clots. He also became very weak and was released from the hospital only to be admitted to a rehab center for three weeks in August. This consumed much time and energy. Most of the hours in a day were spent by Mark’s side, but I was still able to achieve the important tasks of work. As I look back on those months, I should have felt more pleased at the accomplishment of meeting each deadline instead of just relieved.

The only known cause for these blood clots is Mark’s inability to be active. He did receive eight weeks of home health therapy after returning from the rehab center but now, it’s all up to me to make sure he gets the exercise he needs. To prevent more blood clots, he takes an anticoagulant. This affects his diet which requires better meal planning on my part. More exercise and planned meals is an important goal for 2014 improved health.

Goals take work and constant planning. When life keeps messing up plans, it’s discouraging and easy to think, why make plans? I don’t plan for seizures, illness, accidents or hardships, but they still happen.

I agree with Harvey Mackay, who said, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” I don’t want to waste time on regret, or become discouraged over the major goal not accomplished. Instead I should recognize the minor victories. This new year, I plan to break down my goals into obtainable pieces and allow myself to feel joy for every small success.

While striving to reach goals I want to remember—faith, family and friends come first. It may take longer to accomplish the goal when putting them first, but they are most important and make all goals worthwhile.

I’m so grateful for new beginnings which encourage me to recommit to another year of self-improvement.