Well, 2008 has finally arrived, and if you are like me, January is a time of optimism.
The whole year is ahead of us, and if we are fortunate to be alive 12 months from now, we will hopefully be able to look back at a year full of achievement and success.
In January, we are all looking at a blank canvas, and it is up to us to draw and paint what 2008 will become. While that sounds like a sappy cliché, it is the truth.
We have a lot of control regarding how the year will unfold for us, and there are many ways to exert that control.
Many folks make resolutions as a way to get themselves motivated, but I haven't had much success with those in the past. When I try that, I often give up on them by Valentine's Day and wind up more frustrated than before.
Let's face it; most of us lack the discipline to follow through on resolutions. It is either that or we set our goals so high that we get easily discouraged and just give up.
However, as I get older, I am realizing that I have a lot more control over my life than I was willing to admit when I was younger. Many times, we feel helpless regarding circumstances in our lives, but we all have the power to create change.
It is easy to be negative. In the workplace, we have to answer to our bosses. We all work hard for our paycheck but Uncle Sam seems to take a bigger and bigger bite out of it so we feel the government has control of us, too.
Plus, we all have personal obligations in one form or another that consume a lot of our time. With all these forces pulling at us, it is easy to feel like a helpless dancer.
While these things are a strong reality in our lives, we have to be careful not to let them dictate every aspect of how we live.
Obviously, we can't cast all these responsibilities to the side and forget about them. However, we can put them in their proper perspective.
For example, the pressure of the workplace is something we all share. At some point this year, we will all feel under the gun.
We will fill overwhelmed and wonder: "How in the world will I be able to meet the expectations of my boss?"
All too often, the pressures of our jobs dominate our lives. Not only does it affect us in the office, but we take those pressures home where it impacts our home life.
At a moment like this, we have a decision to make regarding how we will deal with this.
While these pressures can be suffocating, they only begin to suffocate us when we allow them to. Like I said earlier, we all have a lot more power over our lives than we understand.
It all comes down to a simple question: Are we going to let the pressures of this world control us or is it going to be the other way around?
I'm not trying to minimize the pressures and responsibilities that we all face. We all have responsibilities that are enormous.
However, the bottom line is we all have to learn how to avoid letting these factors control us.
Take it from somebody who has had to learn this the hard way. If you don't learn to control the pressures of your life, you will face a day of reckoning that will not be pretty.
I am not the smartest man in the world, but I do know we are blessed with only a certain amount of days to live. The choice we all face is: How are we going to live those days?
Are we going to let the pressures of this moment dominate our lives? Or will we do the best we can and be content with that?
I think the answer is obvious. The pressures of today will only be a faint memory years from now. So, why let them consume you now?
Since I don't believe in making resolutions, here is some practical advice.
Take a few deep breaths. Slow down. Make time to savor life. Enjoy 2008.
It could be the best year of your life.