A New Way to Find Beauty with Resolutions

I love a fresh start no matter the time of year, but when New Year's Day rolls around, it has a strong appeal to my sense of order and harmony. I can't resist the opportunity to begin a new project, habit, or routine.

Resolutions are a holiday tradition in this country just as we have our family customs at Christmas. But sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to our goals that come February, many of us have given up on the well-meaning decision.

A few years ago, I tried something a little different on January 1st. I wanted to be a person who sends supportive cards, so I set up a schedule with my calendar using a spreadsheet, designed some custom greeting cards through Shutterfly, and bought several books of stamps. Although I didn't send a card every week all year as planned, the practice helped me understand how to make time for kindness when I feel too busy. Now, I always have a selection of cards on hand to send when needed, and the experiment has led to my current, annual resolution.

For each New Year, I resolve to use my time with intention.

I may still start a project or set a tangible goal, but by keeping time at the center, I'm able to mold my year into a satisfying journey.

This effort has been amplified due to my chronic illness. My body requires energy conservation, so time management has become a priority. But you don't need to have physical limitations to try this approach; you only need a deliberate mindset.

Consider the moments when you have said to yourself, "I should call/visit so-and-so more often," or "I should volunteer with this organization," or "I should [fill in the blank]," then take these aspirations seriously and schedule the time. 

If your days seem too full, see if you can find just ten minutes to devote to this new task, keeping in mind the hidden downtime where we typically reach for our phones to browse the internet, play games, or check social media.

Alternatively, answer this question: What kind of person do you want to be?

This can be defined by the following three questions:

  1. How do you spend your time?
  2. How do you spend your money?
  3. How do you treat your family?

By this measure, a third of my identity is determined by my use of time. If I spend most of my time binge-watching television, checking email, and reading gossip magazines, that is who I'm choosing to be. There is no judgement in this activity, only the awareness of the impact of your choices.

When you purposely track and use your time, your priorities become clear. You can try them on for a while, and in this way, you can see what kind of beauty is revealed.

Some doorways from last week:

  • I received a gracious phone call from a friend, thanking me for the flowers my family sent.
  • Watching a nature show (The Blue Planet II), I learned of a pod of dolphins who, in an amazing and beautiful turn of events, recognized as friends a herd of small whales that was pursuing them, turned around to greet them, and then joined the whales in hunting other fish.
  • I experienced glimpses into past, warm, and safe-feeling memories with the sight of ordinary objects like a box of pens next to a cash register or an Interstate billboard.
  • I found great comfort in the candlelight singing of Silent Night on Christmas Eve, knowing the song has been sung for two centuries.


  1. As always, you have such an insightful view. Time management is on my list of goals for this year as well, but specifically in curating the things I agree to do, and maintinginr my personal boundaries.

    1. Yes, boundaries are something I have had to learn, as well. I think this is one of the main areas that is impacted by a person's childhood and how she was raised.


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