The ball dropped. Did you see it? Within a quick ten second countdown, the clocks struck midnight and we were once again faced with a new year. Besides the cliche horn-blowing and excessive hugging, I always love those first few moments of the new year. It marks a simplicity that I cherish. For those first few moments, the complicated build-up of the past twelve months seems to disappear and I am once again greeted with a fresh start that is liberating and unknown. Even though it is really just another day, the new year gives us the opportunity to start anew. It’s magical, really.
I always make a New Year’s Resolution. Sure, it’s cliche to do so, but it doesn’t have to be. In past years, I have made those typical resolutions–exercise more, start a new hobby, go on a diet–and like many others, I have failed to keep them. But for the past 4 years, I have challenged myself to make more practical resolutions that will make me a better person. Resolutions that are actually tough to do, but will reward my character. Change my thinking. Inspire me to become a more joyful person. And I’m happy to say that I have been pretty good at keeping those resolutions. So much so, that I look forward to not only making, but keeping them each year.
My first “real” resolution was to be more optimistic. It was inspired by a thought I had one summer when I realized that I was putting too many expectations on myself, and instead wasn’t appreciating the moments that came–how they came. I realized that being happy required removing any expectations from particular experiences and instead finding that great parts that just happened. That year, I obviously still had my down days but I was generally a more joyful person. I learned to appreciate friends, moments, tough times. Life. That resolution changed my entire attitude.
The next year, my resolution was to devote more personal time to be spent with Jesus. This resolution scared me. It was vague and quite challenging. I had never really had a relationship with God that was so personal–before I just spent lots of time going to church, hearing messages, attending youth group, and listening to other people talk about how God spoke to them. But I knew that I needed a more personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. I didn’t know how to tackle this resolution, but I quickly became really keen on journalling and reading straight from the Bible. It was an incredible year. I look back on it now and realize how imperative it was in making me who I am today. I learned so much about Jesus and myself in that year that I don’t even think I could express it in words.
Last year, my resolution took a way more practical approach. A friend introduced me to this incredible book called “Everyday Justice” by Julie Clawson. As I read through the book, my heart was stirred by the way in which our everyday choices impact so many people around the world–people we are called to love. It exposed me to the horrors that other people face because of the clothes I buy, the food I consume, and the waste I produce. I was heartbroken but also inspired. As a result, I challenged myself to go an entire year without buying any new clothing. Not because I wanted to save money (which I did–double bonus!), but because I wanted to force myself to own up to my impacts and research how I could change them. By the end of the year, I had made some clothing purchases, but the majority of them were from thrift stores or places I had extensively researched and knew were fair to those who produced them. I also had developed a new hobby in sewing as I even opted to make some of my own clothing here and there. It was an incredible experience and I know I will never go back to just buying the most cost efficient (for me) shirt I can find.
So that brings me here. 2013. I thought about this year’s resolution for quite some time, as I wanted an equally practical and spiritual challenge. I am once again intimidated by this year’s challenge, as it requires a daily commitment. But I am also excited and inspired by it. So this year, I am going to attempt to do a photo challenge called
My resolution is to take at least one photo every single day that represents something I am thankful for. There are a couple of reasons why I chose this resolution. First of all, I don’t exactly pride myself on my photography skills (if you could even call them that). But like many other things, I know that learning good photography requires time, experience, and experimentation. It is something I enjoy and am definitely interested in learning more about, so I made a resolution that forces me to use my camera. Second of all, I chose this resolution because I’ve come to realize that the majority of my prayer time with God is spent asking. I want to take the moments to quiet my mind and just praise God for his faithfulness. Photographing, editing, and writing about these things that I am thankful for will hopefully give me that time to simply thank Jesus.
I have decided to keep myself accountable for this resolution by posting my photos on here. I have created a page under the ABOUT section that is specifically designated for this challenge. I will update it as frequently as I can with the photographs I have captured.
I can’t wait to see what I learn from this year’s resolution. It is such a blessing to be able to challenge ourselves to grow and evolve and learn. I know there are great things in store for all of us in the year ahead. Bring it on, 2013.
What are your resolutions? What have some of your past resolutions been?
Happy New Year, everyone. May you experience joy in new ways in this year ahead!