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December 31, 2011 / sharoncopy

New Year’s Resolutions, anybody?

I always reflect during this week and think about what the past year has been like. It always seems to go by so quickly and months, in particular, startle me with their speed. Days and weeks, not so much, for some reason.

I don’t make resolutions just for the fun of it, but I do “take stock.”

First of all, it’s a general summary of what took place around when, which oftens leads to a letter that gets distributed via email to most, and by mail to the last couple of people out there who haven’t gone online (you know who you are, Barbara!) Next it’s a time of thanksgiving as I thank God for the joys and wonders and for the strength and wisdom to get through the scrapes and the bad times. Following that comes an analysis of what went well and what didn’t and what could possibly be changed.

Sometimes the changes are significant. Sometimes they aren’t really new. I once went back and read some letters that I wrote to a friend back during my college years and found it interesting to note that my goals and struggles in life had really not changed, although I’m sure that in many ways I have.

Changing. Yes, I want to lose weight. I managed to lose 18 and keep off 15 and I choose to feel good about that instead of kicking myself for not losing more. It occurs to me that maybe I could just set a goal of losing 15 lbs each year – in 2 or 3 years I’d be doing better than now, right?

I want to control my tongue. On this I know I have improved compared to when I was in my 20’s and 30’s and even my 40’s. Eventually I learned that very few people want to listen to all the things that I would like to say, so l)  I began stopping in mid-sentence when I saw their eyes glaze over and if they didn’t notice, I knew it was past time to be quiet. 2) I also learned that when I do all the talking I don’t learn anything new and I love to learn. When I listen I learn about the other person and show interest in her life, and I really am interested in details. 3) Another test I’ve given myself is this: when I come home from church and I can remember the story I told or the subject I discussed but I can’t remember who the discussion was with, I know that I wasn’t really having a dialogue then either. (Ouch!) As I said, I have improved, but I still have a long way to go.

Regarding conversation, it’s not so much a resolution as a continued gradual learning to be more aware. Participating in  Toastmasters has helped me to learn to speak carefully and judiciously, and not be afraid of a pause. Recently when I was asked a difficult question that took me by surprise I said nothing for perhaps a minute. It was clear that I was carefully deciding how to answer, and I was glad that I pondered first.

More later…

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