Now that the presents are all opened, wrapping is strewn everywhere, and some toys are already broken, here is my special Christmas Wish for you, called
Gifts of More Lasting Value
The Gift of Integrity
Do you know someone who has high integrity? That person seems to stand out because integrity can be such a rare commodity. Integrity is a gift you give yourself. How? By making the day-to-day choices and decisions that shape a strong character. Integrity is shaped in the small choices we make when no one is looking. I believe it works like this: Choices shape our habits; habits shape our character; our character results in our integrity. Then our integrity shapes our choices. A nice circle to live in.
The Gift of Community
Here’s a little-known fact about many of our suburban neighborhoods. Most people do not know the names of their next-door neighbors or the people across the street. That is a frightening fact. We’ve gotten so caught up in rush-rush-rush that many people have no real sense of community, which provides a sense of place and of belonging. Knowing your neighbors is also a safe thing to do. So, whether it is in your neighborhood, a place of worship, a club or other group, create, build and maintain a sense of community in the coming year.
The Gift of Persistence
If you want to achieve anything worthwhile in life, you must have persistence. Persistence is often confused with stubbornness, but it is not the same. Stubbornness is banging your head against the wall trying to do something in the same way that does not work. This is also one definition of insanity. Persistence is continually trying new and different solutions, as many as it takes and as long as it takes, to reach a worthy goal.
The Gift of Rest
Would you intentionally drive your car until it ran out of gas? Though many of us have done this accidentally, it does not make sense to do it on purpose. So why do we do the same thing to our minds and bodies? Many of the most successful people I know have forgotten how to rest. I usually recommend they take an entire day to rest, recover, recharge and reload. Rest is not laziness. It is wisdom in action. So, rest.
The Gift of a New Proficiency
Many people seem to stop learning after they finish school. After a while, I wonder if the brain begins to die or just dry up. Make it a goal in the new year to develop a new proficiency. Take up a sport; upgrade your computer skills; start a hobby. I wonder how much more we would enjoy life if we developed one new major proficiency a year?
The Gift of Encouragement
Life can be discouraging. We can so easily lose our way. Whether it’s a good swift kick in the pants or an arm around a shoulder, I bet there is someone in your life who could use your encouragement. Why not give it?
The Gift of Perspective
Richard Bach said “perspective – use it or lose it.” Isn’t it easy to lose perspective? With the events of this year, our perspective has been altered in many ways. Pay attention to how and about what you complain. Is there something to appreciate hidden in there? There’s no such thing as a complaint without something to appreciate, or at least get started on changing, hidden inside.
The Gift of Declutterization
Many of us live with so much clutter in our homes, in our jobs, and thus, in our minds. Clutter creates disorganization, which creates chaos, which is a significant contributor to anxiety and depression. Getting rid of clutter frees up our time and our minds to live the rest of life. If you haven’t used it in a year, and it’s not a family heirloom, throw it out. Handle mail and other papers just once. Make some files, organize your desk. At least clean out a drawer. You will feel lighter.
The Gift of Freedom
Consider the things you have freedom from, and consider the things you have freedom to do. What new freedoms will you create in the New Year?
The Gift of a BYE
For our purposes, a BYE stands for Best Year Ever. As we enter into a new year, many people are pulling back on their dreams and other things they want to do. Instead, why not commit to making the daily choices and decisions that would give you the best year ever? Imagine how you would feel one year from today.
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