A New Hope (And No It’s Not Star Wars)


Hope; it’s what looking forward to flipping over the calendar at the end of December every year is all about really isn’t it? I mean, it’s a new slate, a fresh start, new beginnings with raised expectations that you won’t screw this one up; that things will be better than they were the previous year.

Throughout the year we all have those moments when things start fresh. We may start reading a new book, start work on a new painting, a renovation, maybe a new job; why I can recall in public school just being excited when I wrote for the first time in a new workbook and vowed that my printing and writing would be neater and with fewer mistakes to rub out with an eraser.

However a new year is when everybody we know gets a do-over all at the same time. I think to be honest this what we really celebrate; the chance we all have to put things right and get our act together and we’re supported by all of those we come into contact with because just like us, that’s what others are trying to do too.

Now for things to be better, we have to acknowledge first what didn’t, or isn’t going so well at the present time. For many of us that’s ridiculously easy to do of course because so many of us are continually facing problems and challenges. If you’re going to look at 2017 as the year you get hired by a good company doing a job you enjoy and making a decent wage doing it, no doubt you are pretty much well aware of the fact you are currently unemployed or unhappy in your current job. This is an easy one; not to fix of course but to understand.

On the other hand, there are some things in our lives that we want to set straight, deal with or put behind us; and if it was as easy as flipping the calendar to January 2017 we’d all be doing it. I’m talking about the things we want the new year to bring us that require us to first acknowledge and articulate what we currently have but want to change which we don’t want to think about or talk about. If we keep saying to ourselves and others, “I don’t want to think or talk about ______”, it’s not likely that a new year will bring the results we want – certainly not in any lasting measure.

So let’s say it’s a goal to be a better person. As good as that is, it’s rather vague isn’t it? I mean, better in what way(s)? Before we can decide how to be better it would be appropriate and necessary to examine closely and honestly the kind of person we are right now and have been throughout the year; knowing how we are at present and how we’d like to be can lead us to identify the distance between the two. How we go about enacting the change we want to bring about the desired end results is the next step but too many people make it the first step.

I suppose it’s also essential to ask yourself, “What’s my motivation for wanting a change in 2017?” Are you looking for more money, security, travel, a lasting relationship, perhaps ending a relationship? Goals for the new year can include endings as well as beginnings and not just in personal relationships. You could decide to finish 2017 no longer employed in your present job; break your addiction to social media and your cell phone, or your relationship with a creditor by getting out of debt.

A new year is like everybody received a brand spanking shiny new lottery card. There’s hope with every one issued and produced; a few will be major winners, some reveal happiness and give us reason to smile and for others there will be disappointment and a dream unfulfilled. However, unlike a lottery card, the result isn’t predetermined. When you scratch the lottery card, there are a fixed number of winners and losers. In life, I think we could all find 2017 brings us improvement, fulfillment and happiness – it’s within our control whether we have a good one or not.

I’ve a suggestion to put before you and that is in addition to the big one; the really significant thing you are hoping 2017 brings your way. Set yourself up for success with some relatively small or minor hopes too. If you hope to lose 50 pounds; a fairly big hope for many, maybe start with an obtainable yet small goal like replacing your white bread with some 100% whole grain bread, or forgoing the bread entirely for the first two weeks when you’re out shopping. Not a big deal; chances of success are pretty good and you can certainly mark whether you hit the goal or not.

If it’s a better you, maybe something tangible like, “being better means being friendlier and friendliness starts with a smile” becomes your motto and you set out to smile consciously at everyone you meet for the first few seconds. Unnatural as it might be now, you’re hoping to build new patterns of behaviour that you can carry on with over the long-term.

So what’s important enough to you that you’d like to work on to bring yourself the gift of hope realized in 2017? Share it if you will here with us.

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