Not only is it a chance to look back and see where I've been, but also to look ahead and plot where I want to go next. And while this year brings a whole slew of new goals, both personal and professional, as far as my Five goes, it's pretty much the same with one minor (but still major) tweak!
So here goes:
1. I, Alyson Noel, do hereby commit to frequent acts of kindness and GRATITUDE.
This one is basically the same as last year's #1 with the addition of the word "gratitude." A big one for me as I truly believe it's one of the most important things we can practice. Whether it's gratitude for a beautiful sunset, the song of a bird chirping, a fresh bloom on a stem, a favor from a family member of friend--expressing our gratitude is a positive force that leaves everyone feeling good. And when we feel good--we do good. So yeah, more focus on gratitude. I'm so there!
2. I will also commit to random acts of charity.
Las year this one played out in the way of lots and lots of charitable donations, which, due to time constraints, were primarily of the monetary and material kind. We'll see what this year brings . . .
3. Every time I buy something new like clothes, books, shoes, and/or purses--my usual vices--I will donate something similar to a person, place, or organization that needs it.
Okay, truth be told, I was really, really excited about this one, but also a little worried. As someone who likes not just my old stuff, but also the prospect of shiny new stuff as well--could I really do it?
Well, I did do it! And it felt so great I plan to keep doing it. Because not only did it cut down on my personal consumption, it made me really stop and consider the real reason I was tempted to buy something. Did I really need it as much as I told myself I did--or did I merely just want it instead? And if I so, -did I want it enough to get rid of something similar that I already had? Most of the time the answer was no, but when it was yes, I gotta tell you, it felt great to donate!
4. I will also commit to whatever acts I can to live greener and help lessen and/or offset my environmental footprint.
Yep, this one's the same too, and so far it's resulted in a major changing of the light bulbs, buying a hybrid car (and yes, giving up a gas guzzler to make room for the new one!), putting on a sweater in place of cranking up the thermostat (I admit, living in Southern California makes this one a little easier!), landscaping with native, drought resistant plants, and recycling in a big way . . . we'll see what 2010 adds to the mix!
5. This one also stays as it's hugely important to me: I, Alyson Noel, do hereby promise to firmly commit to positivity, to keeping all of my communications to a no snarking/no ranting zone, and will happily post about what's going right in the world, since I thing we're all too aware of what's going wrong.
By continuing to do this, I'm really, really hoping that I can convince at least one, maybe two, possibly even three others to follow suit. Because the truth is, I'm often saddened by the Internet. Saddened by how a tool that holds so much potential to bring us all together more often degrades into an acid-tongued snark-fest instead. I'm saddened by the amount of energy so many people put into such rampant negativity. I'm saddened that we're living in a world where the well-timed insult reigns supreme. Yes, there are shows I don't like, celebrities I don't care for, books that left me feeling bleh--but so what? Who cares? Those are just my opinions--it doesn't make them facts. Why invest all of that time and energy into something you claim to hate? Why tear someone down when you can lift someone up instead? Seriously? Why even go there? Anytime I'm even tempted to do this, I think of this quote by Deepak Chopra:
"The cheapest way to feel good about yourself is by feeling superior to others."
And I'm always stopped dead in my tracks.
Calling someone ugly won't make you pretty--declaring someone stupid won't make you smarter--tagging someone as a no-talent won't make you gifted--but taking the time to say something nice, never, ever fails to put you and your subject in a flattering light.
We can do this--all of us--one positive step at a time!
So there you go, that's my Five. Basically the same as last year's with the addition of GRATITUDE--a simple concept, but a powerful force!
What about YOU? How are you Living Your Five this New Year??