I believe in the wisdom in the words of others.  There are thousands (ok, who am I kidding – millions) of people, past and present, who are much smarter than me and I often look to their words when I am searching for inspiration for my own writing.  Today, I found this:

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

-Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

One of the best gifts my dad ever gave me was to teach me to write down my goals.  He’s always been a mentor and a role-model to me and one day in my early 20’s I was sitting in his office when he asked me, “so, what are your goals for yourself?”

I’m pretty sure I looked at him like he’d just spoken to me in Pig-Latin with a Japanese accent.  It shouldn’t have been a hard question, but I’m embarrassed to say, I’d honestly never really thought about it.

Ever since, I’ve spent the week leading up to the New Year reflecting and writing between ten and 20 goals for myself for the year (goals are different than resolutions and, I believe, are more attainable).  I strive for balance and diversity, and assign each goal to one of five categories – Spiritual, Relational, Financial, Physical and Professional – a process I’ve refined and picked up over the years from reading books more people smarter than me have written.

Recent years (as Zora suggests) have left me with more questions than answers.  This year, I have 21 goals and intend to answer some of these questions.

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lighten-up our bodies.  Believe me, that one is on my list, but even higher up on the list this year is to lighten-up my mind.

Lately, I’ve felt far too bogged down with stress, anxiety and the past.  I’ve decided it’s time to let go and shed the weight of my mind.  Within my goals, I’ve outlined personal things I can do to perpetuate stillness and peace and insert more beauty into my everyday life.

My daughter would say I’m a fossil and be horrified that I’ve only yesterday (no kidding, yesterday) created an Instagram account.  In the past, I might have immediately signed on to follow every celebrity and popular, sensational entity out there.  Instead, I’m on the hunt for people to follow whose tendency is to post things that calm me, that I can find beauty in and that I just plain like to look at (and Ryan Gosling…I confess, I follow Ryan Gosling).

My theory is that this, in combination with a few other strategically placed goals, can help me move down the path to reframing certain thoughts, forgiving and taking responsibility…which then leads to change.

Finally, as we go into the New Year, I offer a gentle remember that your words stick to people tighter than any binge-session of chocolate, pizza and mashed potatoes.  A meal can be burned off, but harsh words get burned into our hearts and minds, forever weighing us down with the rejection they are encased in.

Remember to be kind.

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