New Year, New Growth

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It’s that time of year when social media giant, Facebook, presents users with a slide presentation of their year in review. It’s kind of nice to get a slide show reminding you how you spent your year. And they do all of the work. It’s amazing when you think about the technology that went into creating that for millions of people.

When we look back on this past year, I think most of us will remember that in our society it was a year filled with tension and division. People had strong opinions about political, health and school issues. Regardless of what side of these issue you were on, families were divided because of their beliefs and friends seem to have no regard for each other’s feelings when they took their opinions to social media. It was really disheartening to watch and listen to the strife that was happening all around us. 

For some people, maybe your year personally was much like that too. So in addition to the conflict and discord that was happening on social media, the news channels and print media, your own world was rocked.

Because we operate on a calendar year, we tend to think of the new year as a new beginning, even if our problems from the year before carry over. We celebrate as though we have a second chance. And there’s nothing wrong with it. I think the new year is a great opportunity to rewind, see where we’ve been and see if it matches up with where we thought we’d be. If it doesn’t, it’s a chance to regroup and remind ourselves of what it is we wanted to do. 

I’m not talking about monumental or significant accomplishments like hiking the over 2,000 miles of the Appalachian trail or running a marathon in all 50 states, but it could be running your first marathon or hiking in the park near your home. It may involve moving into a new home or starting a new job. Those are very tangible goals with measurable outcomes. 

What’s harder, though, is committing to making internal changes in your behavior. Looking at yourself and asking the tough questions. How can I be a better husband or wife? A better mom or dad? Maybe a better sibling or child? It’s not as much fun to think about changing your outlook or attitude as it is to plan a physical activity. When you delve into the heart of who you are and who others are that surround you, there’s always the potential for hurt or disappointment, but there is also the great opportunity to bring about good growth and change. 

I would encourage you to consider your behavior first. Of course it would be easier to blame others and hope they’ll change. However, the only person we have control over is ourselves. It always surprises me that when I start looking at who I am and how I’m behaving and then start to change some of my ways, other people start responding differently. Or do they? Perhaps the problem was always me and their acting the same way they always did. It’s not always the case, but if the relationship is better and growing positively, than it’s a win/win for everybody. In this new year, I hope that you will consider how you can improve who you are and how you interact with those you love. I know if you do, you’ll win more often at home.