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New Year's Resolutions

Nicole
Jan. 25, 2011

What is the meaning of determination? Not the Webster’s dictionary meaning, but how would you personally define the word?

In September, I started at a new job as a fitness instructor for a lunch-time fitness program. The program focuses on teaching children character development and getting them interested in personal health and fitness. As a fitness instructor, my goal is to get the kids energized and ready to learn some cool karate moves, but more importantly, my objective is to teach them focus, discipline, and respect for themselves and others. What I did not expect is that I would also take away some valuable lessons about my own personal growth and development.

During the first class of the New Year, my co-instructor and I sat the kids down in the gymnasium at the end of class. He asked, “What do you think the word determination means?” One student, an eight-year-old boy, raised his hand and replied, “Working hard and always doing your best.” Another confidently exclaimed “Never giving up!”

I smiled and said, “That’s great! So now, think of one thing that you want to get better at and what steps you’d have to take to accomplish that goal.” Some of the kids wanted to improve their running and endurance, while others wanted to improve their spelling or math.

I confessed that English was not always my strongest subject in elementary school.

“I wrote in a journal everyday! Even about the silliest things like walking to the corner store, going swimming with my friends, even about attending vocal lessons," I said. "You name it, I wrote about it! And now, I’m a Professional Writing and Communications major in university.”

The message I was trying to convey is that with practice, patience and self-discipline, they could get better at anything and everything they put their mind to. However, the key and crucial first step was setting a goal and then deciding that it had to be achieved no matter the sacrifice.

Such a simple lesson, yet as adults, we often get so caught up in just getting through things and on getting tasks and deadlines met, that we do not stop and assess areas where we require improvement.

A new year often evokes thoughts and moments of self-reflection. Many people think to themselves, what could I have done better, what did I do well, and more importantly, how can I improve myself this year and in years to come? I am no different in this regard. As 2011 gradually approached, I found myself doing a lot of inward thinking and being thankful for all the positive things in my life. I started to appreciate what we sometimes overlook and take for granted, namely, the simple things. For instance, the support of family and friends, my health, shelter, food, and not one, but two jobs that I love. I would say than that I have been blessed double, if not triple fold.

As a final note, as you consider your New Year's Resolutions, whether you want to go to the gym more or be more financially responsible, I urge you to stop and think about all the things you currently possess and be thankful for them. You may even find that once you stop to consider the good, that you will feel uplifted and have a better grasp of what actually needs improvement in your life, and how to tackle those goals efficiently.

Nicole