Each New Year I choose a quality that will be the focus of my life for the next twelve months. I write the quality down on a few index cards and place them in some strategic places—next to my bed, on the refrigerator, in the money section of my wallet. Then I make it a point to apply this quality to every aspect of my life as much as I can throughout the year.
Last year I chose zest. During the year, I approached every activity in my life with a sense of zeal and enthusiasm, even when the task was onerous, such as filling out my taxes or sitting in a traffic jam. It wasn’t always easy; I often forgot and had to “remember to remember.” But now, at the end of a year in which I brought a zesty attitude to everything I did, I find that the quality of zest has become an integrated part of my personality. I have become naturally zesty, even when I don’t consciously choose to be. Now, it is simply who I am.
Habits Make the Person
To a great extent, who we are can be attributed to our habits. The good news is that we aren’t stuck with them. We can break or make habits as we wish. It does, though, take concentrated attention and consistent practice.
Choosing a quality you want as part of your life at the beginning of a new year, and consciously applying that quality over the course of twelve months, is a sure way to create a habit that becomes a permanent part of your life.
This year I have chosen the quality of compassion. I want to love more, especially those people I find difficult to love. I want to respect each person I meet as part of my family.
To this aim, I’ve written the word “Compassion” on my index cards. Before I go to bed on December 31st, I will place these cards where I’m sure to see them as I go about my daily tasks.
Each time I interact with a person during the upcoming year, I want to remember to show compassion, to love them more. Whether it is someone significant in my life or merely a stranger, whether I am enjoying the person or being confronted with someone who is difficult, I will think “Compassion” and love that person more.
Pick Your Quality
What quality do you want to bring to your life? Who do you want to become?
Will you choose to be happy, regardless of what happens to challenge you? To be carefree and not worry, even when events get scary? To be sincere and honest, in spite of events that would make dishonesty easier?
A new year is about to begin, offering you a prime opportunity to integrate a new idea into your life. Choose a quality, just one, and make it the theme of the next twelve months. By the end of next year, you will find that you naturally possess that quality. You have become even more of who you want to be.