The VIEW from here

Pay forward generosity all year long

A lthough the wrapping paper and ribbons are now in the wastebasket, and many are already taking down their Christmas trees and decorations, we hope the spirit of the holiday season will last into the New Year and beyond.

As the world did not end on Dec. 21, those of us with imperfect lives and characters will now return to the list of self-improvement resolutions for the New Year.

Lose a few pounds. Gain a few pounds. Be nicer to strangers. Quit smoking, drinking, texting, eating bad for you food or road raging. Learn to juggle. Look up old friends. Call mom more often. Volunteer more often. Smile more often. Shuck off all the trappings of materialism and live an enlightened life. Move off the grid.

But perhaps your life is perfect as it is and you require no improvements. If that’s the case, maybe you could suggest a few wishful resolutions for others.

Here’s one we might suggest: That everyone please stop predicting the end of the world. We’re pretty sure that when the apocalypse finally shows up, it will be unannounced.

So if a New Year’s resolution is to be successful, perhaps the time to start considering it in these days after the crystal ball in Times Square made its descent. Besides, if you have your resolution in mind early you might avoid sabotaging your resolve in advance.

Consider these thoughts when embarking on the road to your resolution:

• It may seem counterintuitive when setting goals for yourself, but sometimes, failure must be an option. An ability to accept and learn from temporary setbacks without giving up can be the secret to success. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career,” observed basketball great Michael Jordan. “I’ve lost almost 300 games … I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.”

• Visualize your success. Imagine your feelings and the benefits of meeting your goals. Many athletes imagine their success. Hitting a ball out of the park, throwing the touchdown pass or vaulting to a record height require more than practice and training.

• Success requires concentration. Just as the roar of the crowd can’t distract a goalie, the whirring and beeping of the operating room’s electronic equipment can’t allow a surgeon to lose focus.

So, by all means accept that success doesn’t necessarily happen on the first try; imagine basking in the satisfaction of a successful resolution; concentrate on the goal, not on the things that, inevitably, will litter the path on the road to success.

Pay no heed to the statistic that most New Year’s resolutions end in disappointment. Instead, consider that in many aspects of our lives, most of us are already successful. A successful New Year’s resolution can be built on that foundation.

A final thought for all of us to resolve to as we head into the New Year: Remember those less fortunate than ourselves.

With the economy in a fragile, yet recovering state and several cold winter months still ahead, many throughout the region will need support to stay warm and fed this winter, and we ask Genesee County residents to continue to show their generosity by paying it forward all year long.

Happy New Year!

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