For many of us, a new year symbolizes a fresh start. We set new expectations and we hope for a better year, or at least one as good as last year. On my inner peace journey, I have learned to not do that to myself. Every day is the start of a new year.
Nevertheless, we naturally gravitate to longer term goals, hopes and dreams. These are the beacons of light that pull us through the valleys and inspire us to reach new heights. Indeed, in leadership, a person’s capacity to “see” far out into the future often determines how high they will rise in their career success. Our vision for the future we want to create for ourselves and those we serve is paramount to putting this new day in perspective.
At one time, my horizon was filled with corporate goals and personal ladder-climbing dreams. As I succeeded, I became increasingly aware that these were not fulfilling me on the inside. Something was missing. My inner peace depended on outer success. This was a trap and one that I busted out of with somewhat reckless abandon. I needed to find the missing chunk on the inside. I needed inner peace that lasts.
There comes a time when we need to make a decision about where inner peace fits into our lives. Is it an afterthought? Is it something we taste for a few exquisite moments after we have achieved a long-desired dream? What do we do when inner peace fades? Do we set a new goal and live in hope for its return someday?
When do we say, I want inner peace today. I want inner peace every day. I may not have it all day long but I want it more today than I did yesterday. That time arrives when we are tired and fed up with chasing fulfillment out there. It doesn’t mean we have to throw out our existing lives. It means we need to re-examine our priorities.
What builds your peace? What takes away your peace? Increase the former and decrease the latter. Don’t make this a once a year exercise. Make this a daily exercise. When peace is your daily thermometer, you feel it’s ebbs and flows the way you feel the temperature rise and fall. You become conscious of what stole your peace and what added to your peace.
This year, I suggest one resolution only. Pay attention. Notice. Inner peace is a choice. When someone’s annoying habit upsets you, be aware that you chose. You preferred to first be unhappy about an outcome you did not like. You could have chosen to be at peace about it first. Then, as Jesus promised, you will see clearly what to do. You will have become solution-focused, not unhappiness-focused.
May this new year be your best ever. It will be if you make each day your best day ever.