Six years ago, at a New Year’s Eve party right before my last year as an undergrad, a group of friends went around the room sharing their resolutions for the coming year. Of course, there were all the usual goals, like working out and focusing more on relationships, plus those specifically relevant for soon-to-be grads, like launching a job search or getting better grades. When it was my turn, I at first didn’t know what to say, since I don’t typically make specific resolutions at the start of each year. Instead, I simply stated the goal that had carried me through college and has since carried me through right into 2011 – to be happy.
Though setting specific goals for the future is of course important, keeping happiness front and center as a focal point has helped me achieve these very goals, and has allowed me to keep my perspective when things get tough. Focusing on being happy has always pushed me to make the best decisions possible, whether in terms of career, health, relationships…you name it.
When I decided to get fit and lose weight a couple years ago, it was because I knew I’d be happier and healthier once I did. When I decided to leave my childhood hometown and come to DC to start a new life, it was because I knew I’d ultimately be unhappy if I didn’t push myself beyond my comfort zone. And when I chose to leave Capitol Hill last month instead of applying for another job there, it was because I knew I’d grown unhappy with my situation and that my staying would have been entirely motivated by other factors.
Now more than ever, this year brings me a fresh start, new opportunities and a new phase in my life. I plan to focus on doing well in grad school, continuing my work in the wedding industry and being a loving partner in my marriage. And at the heart of all of these is that same basic goal I carry with me in all that I do – to be, and stay, happy.
Do you like to make resolutions at the start of each year? What are your goals for 2011?
(Photo Credit: Damien Smith Photography)