This guest post is by Jesse Langley.
It’s the start of a new year, and many of us are thinking about how we’ll improve life for ourselves in 2012.
Resolutions to get healthier, to spend more time with family and friends, and to begin new professional pursuits are common; but for others struggling with financial hardship, illness, or work issues, the new year can seem like just more of the same obstacles with a new date attached.
You may have to carry problems with you into the new year, but you don’t have to carry your stress, your anxieties, or your fears along with them. Making a commitment to change your outlook on life can make a significant difference in the way you handle challenges—and it can spur you into action that can make your new year better than the year before.
The start of the year is a time for reflection and examination; it’s also a time to plan for your future. By taking a little time to list your goals—along with your fears and your obstacles—you can start to put together a plan of action that can carry you through 2012 and beyond.
Of course, making resolutions is much easier than keeping them: while half of us will take the trouble to make a resolutions list, about 12 percent of us will actually keep them. Writing your list of resolutions and sharing them with friends can help you stay accountable for the promises you make, and help you stay committed to the promises you make to yourself.
While sharing your goals with friends or family can offer you a group of people who’ll keep you accountable, building or rebuilding a support network can also help you see your life from a different perspective. We’re social creatures, and sometimes we need others to encourage us to take care of ourselves.
In some cases, it can even save your life: a marathon-running firefighter was diagnosed with multiple myeloma after his father encouraged him to see a doctor. He wasn’t prepared for the diagnosis, but with the support of medical professionals and his family, he was able to return to the job he loves. Building relationships can encourage us to take care of each other.
Even when he was faced with a cancer diagnosis, the firefighter resolved not just to survive, but to return to his active life. Even living a normal life can be an exercise in patience, endurance and strength; adding new goals or resolutions to overcome your difficulties, particularly if you’re dealing with illness or financial issues, can seem nearly impossible.
The only way you’ll find a better job, or save for a new home, or recover from a chronic illness, is by working every day to change your current situation. Churchill’s advice can be applied to everyday life: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”
A new year gives us all the chance to start with a clean slate, to pursue new directions and conquer our fears. Whether you succeed is up to you—but by committing to meet your goals and seeking the tools to craft a better life for yourself, your new year could be a new beginning for you.
Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing, and family life. He has a keen interest in blogging and social media and is an advocate for online training.