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How Are Your Values Reflected in New Year’s Resolutions

Can you believe that 2017 is almost over?! It seems like ten minutes ago that we were doing this whole “ringing in the new year” thing, and now 2018 is just around the corner! You know what that means – we can start counting down the seconds until people start probing with “what’s your New Year’s resolution?” And as soon as the question pops up, like clock work, people start pledging to lose weight, quit smoking, make more money, and various other fill-in-the-blank self improvement strategies. But here’s a fun fact: only 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions. I’m not sure about you, but I am not part of the 8%.


That’s why this year I’m resolving to quit resolution-ing. I have failed to stick to a resolution for as many years as I can remember making one, so I’m going to err on the side of probability and assume this year won’t be any different. But that doesn’t mean I’m just not thinking about what I want from 2018. I’m just going to think about it differently and in a way that more accurately represents what I want my life to be like in 2018. And if you’re not in the 8%, maybe you will consider joining me.

I want to challenge you to think about your values – a value evaluation, if you will. Values are what make us who we are. They are what guide us to make decisions. They are what motivate us. They are what help us live lives that are authentic and fulfilled. When we are not aware of our values, some of these things can slip. When we are mindful of them, they can be enhanced. Living more consciously in the realm of values could make 2018 your most fulfilled year yet – no resolution required.

 
A PLAN FOR VALUE EVALUATION:

 
1. Identify your values! I’ve included a list below of some things you might consider values. On a piece of paper, write down the things that are values for you. This is not a comprehensive list, so feel free to identify values that are important to you even if you don’t see them below.

Family, Friendship, Authenticity, Work Ethic, Community,
Faith, Happiness, Growth, Knowledge, Adventure,
Altruism, Independence, Health, Balance, Loyalty,
Trustworthiness, Consistency, Intuition, Imagination,
Unity, Tranquility, Uniqueness, Organization, Creativity

 
2. Define your values. Take some time to write a few things down about why you value the things you identified. What’s so important about friendship to you? Why does your life feel more complete when you’re making creativity important? How does knowledge make you feel whole?

 
3. Live your values. Write a few sentences about what these values look like in your everyday life. How will you know if you’re honoring adventure in your life? In what ways can you be mindful of balance from day to day? What does it feel like when you’re practicing consistency?

 
4. Value Roll Call! Check in with yourself from time to time about how fully you are living your values. Maybe you have the words written on a notebook that will remind you to think about them. Or maybe you put a monthly reminder in your phone so you remember to take a few seconds to mull them over. Do whatever works for you and incorporate them in a way that feels right.

Book Review Series: Why reading should still be important to you

So you’ve just finished reading the last chapter of your scary huge textbook, you have to collect and read a pile of research articles, and you have to find time to proof read your 15 page research paper before tomorrow. Academic reading has consumed your life? As a graduate student with year-round school, please trust me when I say ME TOO. When I get home from class at night the LAST thing on my mind is reading a nice book for my mental and emotional health. To be completely frank, I’m so sick of reading that I’ve completely lost touch with how much books used to take care of me. I always feel so conflicted when I pick up a book, thinking “if I have time to read this, that means I have time to catch up on readings for school.” I get in such a weird headspace that I end up putting the book down and doing something else, whether it’s productive or not. I feel like I’m cheating my grades if I start reading for “fun.” This continual pressure is taking away my time to care for myself and I need to make a change. Recently I’ve made a deal with myself that I am going to let books start to take care of me again.

I want to see myself in their characters, I want their stories to make me think about the world, and I want their messages to comfort and ease my soul.

Books are such a magical way to find connection with people and stories without having to leave the comfort of your own thoughts. I love books. I’ve lost touch with what they used to mean to me, and that troubles me beyond words. They are the ultimate daydream. When I want to find a little solitude and enter a new reality where my stresses don’t exist, I read a book. Books have become the enemy and I am not okay with that. I want to renew my relationships with books and let them ease my stresses and soothe my soul.

I will be reading a new book every month and writing a short review about what the book has meant to me, how the book has impacted me, and how it might impact you in some way. Books are for learning. Books are also a form of rejuvenation for your mind and soul. I will be reading the soul hugging kind and recommending some of my favorites to the folks out there like me who have taken an accidental leave of absence from books and want to find enjoyment and fulfillment in them once again. I want to let books take care of me in the way that they used to. If you find yourself making these same remarks or these same excuses, please let me validate for you that you are not the only one. If you’ve recognized your relationships with books needs some attention, I invite you to join me in this new promise of self-care.

If you find some connection between my thoughts and your own experience, let’s meet back here and start a dialogue on the books I have chosen. The first book I am going to read (actually revisit) is a classic comfort read of mine that I just recently re-read as I renewed my commitment to reading: The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I love this book. Meet me here and let me tell you why you would too.

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