I don’t know about you, but I only have one New Year’s resolution this year. I suppose if you looked at me, you might suggest a few others, such as “join a gym,” “eat less cheese,” and maybe “find a new hair stylist.” And it’s true—I probably should do all three and then some. And maybe I will. But those are not going to be my main focus.
My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is simple: to take time every day to practice gratitude. I want to make time and space in my daily life–full and harried as it can sometimes be–to reflect on the many blessings of this life and to actively thank God for them. I want to cultivate the serenity and kindness that comes from telling God, “in whom we live, and move, and have our being” (as the Book of Common Prayer says) thank you. Every day. Thank you. More than once a day. Thank you.
Gratitude doesn’t cost you anything (unlike, say, a gym membership) except a little time. Well, that and the willingness to give up being negative, cynical, and whiney (which, for some of us, is hard to do).
I think that by being mindful and grateful, I will treat people with more generosity and compassion. I will say thank you more often. I will listen more carefully. Mindfulness slows you down in a good way. Gratitude gives you the gift of joy. And I am hoping that it will be contagious!
This doesn’t mean that I don’t hope to see and do great things in 2013. I have a lot of goals and dreams for this new year, both personally and professionally. There are a lot of things I am praying for and hoping for—peace in the Middle East, alleviation of poverty in this country and abroad, reduction of violence (especially gun violence), renewed efforts to ensure the rights of women around the globe, the elimination of racism and bigotry, and the protection and healing of our fragile planet environment. Those are big things that we need to work on as a community, as a society. But for me on a personal everyday level, I am going to try to develop a constant attitude of gratitude.
What about you? Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Do you have big dreams and hopes for 2013?
Kate Elliott is editor of Gathermagazine.