I'll be honest: I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I'm more of a making-goals-as-I-go type, as the awareness of the need arises, and as circumstances change. But I also believe that if any opportunity arises to get us to focus on self-improvement, we ought to seize it.
I came across this quote in a New Era many years ago. I immediately wrote it down and then hung it on my bedroom wall:
Ultimately, this is always my goal, and its definitely what I want to do better this year. I looked at this quote every day for 6 years, I've had is memorized for nearly 17. Its a habit I've been working hard to develop for many years.
The truth is, I've never really had a hard time finding things to like about most people. But I've found myself frustrated and disappointed and angry and hurt more often than usual this last year. Some of the circumstances/actions that brought that about have been very much beyond my control, but I can still choose how I respond. Not externally--with rare exception, I have been very in control of my external reactions for a long time. It usually takes quite a lot (or quite extreme) provocation to get me to lose control of my visible/audible reactions. But I have not been in control of my internal emotional reactions to others the way that I should. My goal--always--is to be good to people, to be good for people, and to respond right down to the deepest parts of my heart with nothing but love and compassion.
So, as I start a new year, I have all those external goals one should have--get straight A's again, get in better shape, be wise in prudent in managing finances, etc--but ultimately what I want is to make those who are sad smile (or, better yet, laugh); its to forgive immediately rather than quickly; its to apologize without qualification when I have misstepped; its to be a little bit of sunshine to those who are feeling dark, a little bit of solid ground for those who feel they are wavering, a little bit of kindness to those who are experiencing the world harshly.
It was also Elder Ashton who said, "You can't do everything for everyone everywhere, but you can do something for somebody somewhere." In other words, don't get overwhelmed with everything you can't do, or everything that is beyond your power or control; focus instead on the good you can do, right where you are.
After all, we could all use a little more compassion, and a little less criticism.