Sitting here cozy, relaxed, and binge watching streaming movies for more than half the day, the blasts of fireworks going off outside my bedroom window make it more indicative that the new year will be upon us in less than four hours (US Central Standard Time). The past 364 days have been riddled with hope, surprise, sadness, joy, and unfortunately bittersweet memories for some. As the clock counts down for the ending of year 2021, many have made mental notes or jotted down handwritten sentences declaring their New Year’s resolutions for 2022.
New Year’s resolutions have been an existing tradition since 1671, when Anne Halkett, a writer and of the Scottish gentry, wrote a diary entry on January 2nd containing a number of pledges called “Resolutions”. Having written my first resolution in 1988 as one of the classroom assignments upon returning to school from winter break, the idea seemed great at first, giving the rest of the year something to look forward to. From that point on, the tradition seemed more of a chore and bothersome, instead of motivating me to put my best foot forward.
After having a year of murkiness and a foggy sense of direction in 2020, there was some flicker of hope that 2021 would be a better year. Needless to say, it was a better year for opportunities, more freedom to leave home and regain some semblance of ‘normal’ life, but unfortunately the year felt like a bad break up. The year left some feeling emotionally attached and wondering what went wrong, what could have been done better. Once again, as 2021 comes to a close and the new year approaches, the search for a silver lining is evident and leaving us asking the age old question, “What will the new year bring”?
Looking at a post on Instagram that was uploaded by one of my favorite celebrities, the post was a table of jumbled letters like a crossword puzzle. The clear cut instructions were to find words, and the first four words found would be your personal mantra for the new year. Looking up the definition of mantra, the word should be the replacement for resolution. Instead of feeling obligated to stick to tradition and forced to write out sentences, a mantra allows escaping such fallacies, making your found word a personal testament of what one plans to be committed to or explore. The four words I found were: change, gratitude, love, and alignment. Examining each word closely and how it relates personally, it was safe to say that these four words hit close to home.
Change is the very first word I stumbled upon in the chart of jumbled letters, making my take on this exercise more profound than usual. Often succumbing to tradition, I have found myself stuck in my ways and not being open to altering routines, breathing in the fresh air every now and then. Without change, the rest of the words found will be irrelevant to commit to.
Gratitude is the second word I found. I have always been gracious when I am blessed by others, so this left me pondering what else does it mean to have gratitude. Upon reading the part where it is defined as readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness, I had to take a step back and honestly think about the last time I showed appreciation and performed an act of kindness to someone in return for their kindness or blessing they gave me. It is proper manners to say thank you when you are blessed with something, but how many times have we gone a step further and returned the act of kindness?
Love is the third word found in the mesh of letters. Keeping this part of my life private, to know love is to find love. Automatically thinking this referred to relationship goals, further research was done and it was gratifying to see that this could also mean finding great pleasure or interest in something, which means your love doesn’t have to be a person. Just in case some find it hard to fall in love with a person these days, do note that one can fall in love with an interest.
Alignment is the fourth and final word I found which brought the revelation of mantras full circle. Aligning my life to create balance makes perfect sense. Take a car’s wheel alignment, for example, which is normally needed every two to three years depending on the car’s mileage and usage. A wheel alignment prevents the car from pulling in one direction when driving or from vibrating on the road. Think about the time you invest in your career and work, your family and home life, or your community involvement. Does your life as a whole need an alignment to prevent one aspect from pulling you in one direction away from the other equally important aspects?
Challenge yourself and go into 2022 with a different approach than a resolution. Resolutions tend to be broken as fast as they are formed. Mantras are specific buzz words that spark a greater commitment to being a better you. View the chart above and see what four words will be your mantra for 2022, and share your words with friends, family, and colleagues. Two months from now, go back and gauge your progress. Happy New Year to you and here’s to good vibes in 2022.