Last year around this time I was reflecting on 2011 and creating resolutions for 2012. I resolved to exercise more consistently, and I have, starting the year off with P90X, switching to swimming laps for the summer, and ending with beach walks and Zumba. I wanted to start my day off by taking care of myself, and on those days I exercise in the mornings, I have more energy and feel better all day.
I also decided to make writing a priority. As a writing teacher, I want to model what I teach. At the same time, I am inundated with other people’s words, reading literally a thousand essays or more a year. Therefore, I decided to put my writing, my words first, writing down my thoughts, even if only for 10 to 30 minutes, in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way morning pages journal. As I poured out my fears and stresses, my racing ideas and emotional turmoil, I found myself lighter and more at peace for the day.
Finally, I resolved to also begin each day with God through prayer and gratitude. I pray before I even get out of bed, and at the end of my morning pages, I write down the things I am grateful for. “Thank you, God, for all of my blessings” is the way I begin that section. Before I knew it, I realized that I kept getting more of whatever I thanked God for. Thank you, God, for always being there for me.
I’m definitely not saying that I’m perfect and that I did all three of those things every day this year because I didn’t. I should have exercised at a higher intensity level and written more and developed a more intimate relationship with God. However, on the days I did all three of those things, I noticed that I felt better, had more energy, and experienced more of a positive outlook. It’s the little things that matter, and it is doing the little things consistently that makes a difference and that builds up to the bigger things.
This fall, four of my essays have been published, two in print journals and two online. I firmly believe that these publications are a consequence of doing those three things, of following through on my plans, and of placing emphasis and importance on my own words.
"Dolphins for Christmas" appeared in Florida English, while "The Celebration" is in New Plains Review. Then, CircaReview online just published "Of Beauty, Basements, and Butterflies" and "Magic Acts"!
Thank you, God, for my publications.
I will continue these three things next year and try to take them to the next level. What 2012 resolutions worked for you this year?