What Does the New Year Mean to You?

New YearIt’s here! The old has ended and the new has begun.

In past years, for me, that meant setting a list of crazy expectations, coined “resolutions,” and obsessing over how to make them a reality. Blame it on a competitive nature or a need for perfection, I’m not sure – maybe they’re the same thing. Regardless, New Year’s was another excuse to put some extra pressure on myself and those around me.

I’m not sure what it stemmed from, but, honestly, I think it has a lot to do with what our culture has become. Sure, everyone wants to lose a few holiday pounds and to make a list of fun things to do in the New Year…there’s nothing wrong with this. However, with social media blasting images of perfection: perfect Pinterest pictures posted by professionals that are unobtainable to the average person, selfies filled with laughter, new records being broken and opinions from all angles, it can be a little overwhelming.

This year, I’ve decided to take a step back and evaluate. I started realizing that what we see all around us – and at all times thanks to mobile technology bombarding every aspect of our daily lives – is manufactured happiness. How hard is it to get a family laughing in a photo – or a hundred photos – and to make everyone think that’s an all the time thing? How hard is it to post photos of workout sessions 10x a day to make people think you’re living at the gym?

Let me step back for a second to be clear: I post just as many of these photos as anyone else. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them; I think they’re a great way to share some amazing memories and to connect with friends and family members that we might not see so often. However, there’s also a drawback…when we focus so much on this social reality that we’ve become a part of, we start to see it as the only reality. It can make us feel inadequate…”why is everyone else succeeding?” “why is everyone else so happy?” “why are all my friends doing amazing things without me?”

What I’ve noticed is that when we only focus on what we see – what’s on the surface – we miss what’s underneath…we miss reality. We don’t see the struggles every single person has. We don’t see the hard times; which makes sense…who wants to share them on social media for the world to see?

I’m not saying we need to stop posting. I’m not saying we need to stop sharing joy and happiness – there are a lot of people who need those very things. What I am saying is that the way we perceive these images shared by others needs to change. We need to stop setting ourselves up with unmatchable goals and comparing our lives to the “perfection” that we are served on a constant basis.

Because of this, I’m not making any huge New Year’s resolutions, nothing that requires a check mark for completion. This year, I’m focusing inward, on my family and self. I’m hoping that by injecting a little more love and a little more focus into everyday events, that the result will trickle outward to those around me. I’m planning on facing 2015 and whatever it brings without my own agenda or “plan.” I’m opening my arms and embracing whatever comes my way with a positive outlook and thankfulness. Forget the checklist, this year is just about living right and loving both the good and the bad.

Happy New Year; thanks for being a part of my journey! Let’s do life together and do it well.

What’s your game plan for 2015? What does the New Year mean to you?

Just a reminder to all of my readers! I’m currently in the process of trying to raise money for New Hope Academy for Team Toby Mac and the Nashville Half Marathon…if you feel compelled to contribute, please visit my fundraising page!

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