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A New Kind of Resolution

Emily Dean

I encourage you to look at what your goal for your life is, not just your year. What do you want your life to be defined by?

The Christmas tree is down, the family is waving goodbye, you’re back at your work, and the year of 2018 is now another year passed. You may be breathing a sigh of relief. The year may have held heartache and grief you are ready to say goodbye to. You may be looking back fondly on the year, reminiscing on the people and experiences you’ve had. It may be, as it is for me, both of those things.

As you bid farewell to this past year and enter into a year of possibilities you likely have heard that all-too-familiar question: What are your new year’s resolutions?

You may have already reflected on this, ready to list off your goals for the year. Some may be related to health, some relationships. You may hope to advance in your career or go that place you’ve always dreamed of going to. Whatever your resolutions may be, I hope you achieve them.

But perhaps you’re like me and after being asked the question your head spins with possibilities. You say one thing you hope to do, then add another, until you have a litany of resolutions for your year that neither you or Beyoncé could accomplish.

As I spent time with my immediate family this year the resolution question came up. We all spoke our hopes for the year, the disciplines we intend to practice, the change we are excited to see. It was wonderful to hear the hopes of my family members. As we shared my mom shared an alternative approach to resolutions this year.

This year will be a year defined by kindness. She will be reflecting on it, asking questions about it. She will choose to practice kindness. She wants to open her eyes up to the kindness around her. She wants to discover what kindness looks like, sounds like, feels like. She will practice kindness with her time, money, and words. For my mom this means going to the Bible and seeing how Jesus embodies kindness. It means responding to the hard situations in her life with kindness even when she is tired, frustrated, or stretched thin. And it means treating herself with kindness even when she fails to do so.

We all have areas we need to and should grow. It is good to be ambitious and to challenge ourselves. In the midst of this I encourage you to look at what your goal for your life is, not just your year. What do you want your life to be defined by? Are your goals a reflection of this?

For my mom, kindness is her hope for her life and by resolving to be kind she is letting all of her life be touched by the hope for her life. It is by focusing on kindness that her day to day life is shaped by what she wants her life to look like.

As you enter into this next year, let your resolutions be shaped by a grander picture. As Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Article by Savannah Morgan | Photography by Hilary Hyland