With the work year officially getting underway, most people typically push their New Year's resolutions to the background and begin concentrating on the immediate tasks at hand.
If they think about their resolutions at all, and most people will have stopped taking them seriously long before Valentine's Day, they will see that they made a list of places where they could improve.
My list of resolutions is no different. (It is not surprising. The ways I can get better are almost endless.)
But this year, I amended the list.
Before putting down on paper the places where I wanted to improve, I wrote down three things I am extremely happy about, things I don't want to change.
In other words, I began with the things I am grateful for.
1. My life outside of work. When my children--and I have four of them--were young, I took to answering the question "how are you?" this way: "The kids are fine, and my wife likes me this week." It was meant as a joke. But over time I have realized as long as both parts of that statement are true, my life really is good.
2. My life inside of work. I spent a lot of time over the holidays with people who don't like their jobs, or even their careers. (A lot of them were lawyers.) It made me realize (again) that I have been extremely lucky. With the exception of 17 months, three weeks and four days spent at a national publication that will remain nameless, I really have always loved what I do.
3. Still having the ability to do my day job. The other thing that struck me about spending time with people at holiday parties is there were an awful lot of them were pondering retirement. That follows, I guess, when you aren't crazy about your job. But most of the people I was talking to were in the mid-50s, and that strikes me as awfully young to stop work, or even to seriously begin thinking of punching out of the workforce. A few of them had health reasons for thinking about hanging it up. And that made me grateful for one more set of problems I don't have.
A long-time ago, I gave up telling people how they should run their lives. So, let me suggest this. Before you start working on your resolutions, spend a minute be grateful that you are in a position to improve.