As we come to the first day of December, we often view it as the end of a year or we could also view it as the beginning of the end. Most of us approach the month of December with mixed feelings, depending on how the year had gone. For some of us, it may have been a great year with 11 months of highs. For others, it could have been a bad year with many valleys and dips. For the majority of mankind like you and I, it was a year mixed with valleys and mountain tops, which is probably why many of us have mixed reactions towards the big D.
Whichever our approach may be, I would think all of us would want to end the year in the right note, so we could start 2015 afresh again. Thus, to commemorate the big D, I have 3 D’s on how we could end 2014 right in preparation and celebration of the coming year in 2015.
1. DECIDE this year is going to be different
If you’re like me, you may be going through the same ritual over and over every single year. For me, my December has always been marked by clearing a double portion of work in the first half of the month, so that I could take leave for the second half. In the midst of this, the month will be filled with lots of drama rehearsals for the year-end Christmas production. In between the rehearsals will be efforts in trying to squeeze in some time for other ministry works. And still, in between the little moments left, I would be squeezing some time for family and finally some time for myself. (I actually felt tired just trying to think how many stuff I’m trying to squeeze in.)
Therefore, the first thing we have to tell ourselves is simply “decide this year is going to be different”. Whatever decision/s we make today will always gain traction over time. We choose the path we want to take and once that path is set, the road will appear along the way. I like to say it this year that we “move from the moment to the momentum to the monumental“.
We can use decision-making to choose the habits we want to form, use willpower to get the habit started, then – and this is the best part – we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. At that point, we’re free from the need to decide and the need to use willpower.
2. DIVIDE the past year into smaller successes
It was 31 December and I was all alone in Vivocity counting down with the fireworks at Sentosa. Everyone else was celebrating all around me, but yet I had to hold back my tears as I stood all alone in the crowd. It was a depressing year and there seemed little I could celebrate of. The unexpected happened as I made my way home by train. I had a thought – “maybe I could run through the past 12 months and see if I can find one thing I could be happy about, no matter how small it was”. As I went through each month from January all the way to December, I realised that the year wasn’t as bad as I thought. In fact, by the time I reach home, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear for what had transpired throughout the year.
Has the year miraculously changed for the better? Not really. It was pretty much the same, but my perspective of the year had changed and what seemed bleak became bright again. Many times, it is easy to look at a whole block and colour it black. However, when we divide the year into smaller pieces, the sum of the pieces often look much better than before. The block of black actually has many colours underneath, waiting to be uncovered.
What you appreciate will always appreciate.
3. DELIVER care and kindness to someone else
December has always been marked as a season of giving due to the Christmas holidays. It is not surprise also that retail and shopping expenditure always spike during December as most people spurge on gifts, toys and mementos in celebration. Yet in the midst of all the giving, it is easy to forget the why from the what. If we think about it, would the other person actually need or appreciate the gift that you are giving, apart from the tradition that we have to give in this season. This is why instead of just giving gifts to friends and family members, how about delivering some happiness to them?
The act and effort in delivering care and kindness to another person will always have a positive effect on our long-term moods. We are always the end beneficiary in our kindness to other beneficiaries.
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
As we end of 2014, let’s all look forward to a better year ahead!
Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.