“The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet; new backbone; new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year’s resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” —Gilbert K. Chesterton
Do you have your resolution list ready? They’re almost as fun to make as a Christmas list. I don’t have my specifics worked out yet, but plan to keep one idea at the top: Noticing good things in real time and never forgetting they are gifts, not givens. It would be irresponsible not to.
I assume my list would be comparable to others, but we all have a few unique additions we are able to tack on. I choose my health, my family, my friends, Austin Kleon newsletters, most of my pets, a Big One ultra plush throw from Kohls and my current word processor app that clicks like a typewriter.
(Not always in that particular order.)
I officially resolve to remember these are gifts and that I could never be thankful enough for most of them because I simply don’t deserve them.
Except the Kohl’s throw. I deserve that.
Along the lines of being intentional in thankfulness, I inconsistently, at best, keep a gratitude journal. Just a simple notebook to track a few things that bring happiness on a particular day. It’s an especially good morning habit to adopt, focusing on gratefulness over news tickers. I’m a morning person and it helped me, so I can imagine how it would soften the pain of daybreak for those who are not.
I generally write the same things down (see paragraph two) in some form because those are the things that fortunately, for me, bring consistency. To help set the foundation on which I can build my new year, the last few days of December are the perfect time to expand my list and give credit where it is due.
Small, large and in between, these are a few of those favorite things.
* * *
1. Jack, who reminds me that we do in fact own a harness and a walking leash.
2. Nivia lotion. It’s in a blue bottle, you should try it.
3. This is Us for making Tuesday nights a scheduled emotional roller coaster.
4. Kate Morton’s Instagram account, for making pictures of English gardens and ancient iron fences a part of my daily life.
5. Trivia Crack, for putting Trivial Pursuit in my pocket.
6. Coffee with friends. I’m convinced there’s nothing better.
7. Beartown, for being my favorite book of 2017 and its author Fredrik Backman for creating story after story of people I now love.
9. Kansas skies, always exceeding my expectations.
10. Wood oak pellets burning in the fireplace. For bringing the couch, the Big One plush throw, me, and the Hallmark Channel full circle.
The big things are a big deal but these little things add up quite nicely. I’m even working on being thankful for the downs along with the ups. Lucky for me, that list is a lot shorter.
Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.