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Column: Unite and embrace the New Year

Coming up with an annual motto is much simpler than declaring I will lose weight, stop smoking or get in shape.

Coming up with an annual motto is much simpler than declaring I will lose weight, stop smoking or get in shape.

So, have you made your New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 yet? Are you following them, or blowing them off with an inward twinge of guilt? Or are you, like me, choosing this year to forego the simply awful tradition of making a bunch of promises to yourself that you know you can’t keep?

I do love coming up with an annual motto, which is much simpler than declaring I will lose weight, stop cussing, drinking and smoking so much, get things done, get in shape, make a million dollars and so on. This year’s motto for me: No pressure.

I’m thinking of my good friend Debbie, who recently said, “I don’t understand all this hatred of 2016. It makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s like getting a bag of apples and hating and cursing the rotten ones. There are good, delicious ones in the bag, too. We have all had absolutely wonderful moments in this past year, and, we have all had some really rotten moments as well.”

I concur completely. Did my 2016 feature moments of stress, anger, sadness, frustration, fear and worry? Why yes, yes it did, just like it always does. But what else was in store for me over the last twelve months? Lots of love and laughter, travel and adventure, fulfilling my own choices and dreams, accomplishments, some great books and awesome music, new friends and lots and lots of wonderful food.

Like Debbie says, it’s a law of the universe that we get what we focus on. The law of the universe also delineates that focusing on the positive will bring more of the same into our lives. The year 2017 is likely to be no great mystery; we already know we are likely to lose people we love, that some ridiculous politician or celebrity or event is going to make us mad or sad, that we will love or hate something or someone with a passion, that a catastrophe or two could change our lives. These things are a given and there is no use worrying about them before they happen. Again, no pressure.

We can reduce our stress further by refraining from declaring that 2016 was horrible and we are so thankful it is over and 2017 is going to bring better things and everything will be just grand. Because if you look back at previous years, you just might find you said exactly the same thing and got the same results. And to expect forty seven great things to happen in the coming year while declaring that nothing bad will happen is just setting yourself up for a disappointing twelve months.

Instead, expect that you will be yourself. That your life will go on the way you intend it to go. That bad things, but also many good things, are bound to take place. There is indeed something to be said for expecting to have a great year. Even expecting a miracle is within the realm of reality since they do indeed happen. Just keep it reasonable and you’ll be OK. Happy New Year to all of you.