Saturday, December 31, 2011

So this is the new year

Call me a party pooper if you'd like but I've always regarded New Years with an attitude of indifference.  Of course it's exciting to think of the promise of a new beginning, a blank state, the chance to do things a bit differently this year, however I never know what to do.  New Years' resolutions are a tricky thing.  Typically, I don't like to make them, simply because I tend to drop them by February and beat myself up for it up until at least March, but maybe the way I make resolutions is the problem.  It's actually quite difficult to just say, "You know what, this year I'm (not) going to do this."  Sounds great in theory, yes, but in practice, whatever thing I've resolved to do differently in the New Year always seems to fall flat.  I decided this year though that instead of just picking something and running with it (or as in recent years, not resolving to do anything at all), I'm going to make a set of goals for the year 2012.  Practical, beneficial and in many cases, much-needed, here are a few goals that are reasonable, do-able and guaranteed to better my life and me as a person:

1.  Worry less about the future.
Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am the world's biggest worrywart.  Everyone worries but I tend to make things a much bigger deal than they need to be simply because I let a situation give me anxiety.  2012 is a chance for me to calm down, take a deep breath, and work through the challenges I face one thing at a time.  I have a verse from Matthew 6 taped to my laptop that says, "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself."  I think that'll be my new motto.

2.  Start saving money.
I'm a college student so naturally, money can be tight.  Thankfully, I have a steady job that allows me to work a few days a week and the sunny State of California has awarded me Cal Grant funds the last few years that have helped out more than I can say.  That said, there are a handful of things that I spend on that with time add up (ahem, coffee and food).  This year, I vow to be a little more cautious with my spending and cut corners when I can.

3.  Spend less time on Facebook.
Facebook is great for connecting with friends but occasionally I find myself doing a little too much Facebook stalking and spending substantial amounts of time scrolling down my newsfeed (hey, don't act like you never do it!).  Last year, I gave up Facebook for Lent and I can't even begin to explain how much more at peace I was without it.  I'm not planning on giving up Facebook entirely but I'm sure it wouldn't be a bad thing to cut back on my daily usage.

4.  Get back into running.
I can't pretend that I was ever an avid runner but for a few years in high school, I ran long-distance.  My times were never anything too brag about (to be frank, I was one of the slowest runners on the team) but distance running not only kept me in shape but was a great stress reliever.  This past November, I ran a 5K race for the first time in God knows how long and it was such a refreshing experience.  This year I hope to get at least three 5K (or maybe even my first 10K!) races in before 2013 rolls around and to run on a more consistent basis.

5.  Study/work abroad.
Since high school it's been a big dream of mine to go to Spain.  Unfortunately, I've never been big on traveling (my family vacations at Disneyland...) and my only plane trips barely lasted a little over an hour but I'm hoping to change that this upcoming year.  I'm looking into summer programs at the moment and will be (God willing!) applying to a few programs in the upcoming months.  I'm torn whether to pursue an internship or to just study abroad but I'm determined this year to finally make my dream of going to Spain come true.

6.  Keep in better touch with friends and make some new ones.
I've always been more of a "few close friends" than "many acquaintances" kind of girl and I think it shows--I can count my dearest friends on my hands.  I guess that means I have no excuse for not checking in every once in a while, huh!  I have friends all over the state, even a few in different parts of the country, but I think putting in the effort to keep in touch on a more regular basis will not only help the friendships I have with these people but hey, it might be kinda fun too.

7.  Pray more.
I wasn't raised as a Christian (although both my parents were raised in Christian denominations) so the last 4-5 years have been a bit of a challenge as far as turning Christian practices, such as prayer, into habitual actions.  That said, I want to up the amount that I pray from my basic bedtime prayers to something I do throughout the day.  About a week ago, I bought myself a little notebook to write prayer intentions, that way I won't have any excuse not to pray or for forgetting anyone.  In 2012, I hope to make prayer a bigger part of my daily life and to enter into conversation with God more often.

8.  Say 'thank you' and 'I love you' more.
Another tidbit about myself: I can be pretty awful at expressing my emotions.  I never want to make anyone upset or have someone misunderstand how I feel so for quite some time now, I've opted for the easy route and coined "nothing" or "I'm fine" as my catch phrases.  Of course, I see now that's not helpful to anybody and want to work on not only expressing myself better but saying how I feel when I feel it, especially if it's something positive.  That said, in 2012, I want to say 'thank you' and 'I love you' more often to those in my life that I've been blessed with and that I appreciate dearly.

There's a lot I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year but the way I see it, everything has its place and time.  Odds are I'll stumble across what I need to if I'm headed in the right direction.  If I've learned anything this year, it's that attaining happiness, like any other goal or objective, takes effort and a great reliance in God's capacity to heal, embrace and care for His children.  Lord knows I've still got a lot of growing up to do before I figure things out but you know, I'm growing and learning.  I look forward to all the new year has to offer and I'm very excited to see what God has in store for me in the months to come!

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