By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Another Year, Another Life Evaluation

It's hard to believe that 3 days from now will be Christmas Day. And just one week after that will be New Year's Day. Time flies whether you're having fun or not.

Every December and January, I find myself evaluating My Life So Far. This isn't always a negative experience. It is useful to acknowledge what I'm doing right, what I'm accomplishing. It is also useful to acknowledge where I can improve.

Some years I write out resolutions, but not always. The lists are more or less the same every year, and sometimes I make some progress and sometimes I don't. What seems most useful is to think in terms of what kind of person I would like to become and what direction I need to move in to accomplish that. Then I can set some short-, medium-, and long-range goals that will take me where I want to go.

Writing down specific goals and the steps necessary to reach them is a good thing to do because it focuses one's efforts and helps set priorities. Let's face it--we usually can't do all the things we would like to in life. Some things we have to give up entirely, other things can be done, but not to the extent we would like or at the time we would like. Instead of being a concert pianist, we play for our friends and family and perhaps at church. But we still get the joy of playing the piano and enjoying the music. We still get the discipline of lessons and practice.

Adjustment to life is a good thing. We recognize what is important and necessary and do those things first, then fit in as much as we can of the other things that interest us. Maybe we can't be a scientist, but we can study scientific material and observe the phenomena around us. This is not the same as "settling for less." It is doing the best you can to develop yourself in the circumstances in which you find yourself. It is recognizing talents and abilities and doing what you can to develop them. It is setting a good example for friends and family to improve themselves in their own ways. It is encouraging our children to learn to manage their resources in a way that will be fulfilling to them.

We can also learn, in this process of self-improvement, to overcome the desire for instant gratification. We learn to enjoy the process of becoming, the time spent working toward our goals. We learn that when we put effort into something, we feel that we have truly done something worthwhile, whether the project is ultimately a success or not. We have learned some discipline and we have gained some knowledge.

I do not find self-improvement plans and goals discouraging. Well, most of the time--I'll grant that there are times when I frustrate me, when I don't manage as well as I ought to. Still, for me this time of year is full of hope and determination to do better, to be better.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And may 2006 be delightful--full of discovery and learning and love. And may we focus the most time and effort on our task of greatest importance--becoming like our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father. May we allow our gift of the Holy Ghost to help us in this effort.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Amira said...

Merry Christmas, Mary. It's been wonderful to get to know you this year.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Mary, I have been thinking of you a lot lately. I am so glad to see that you have made a post and about a subject near and dear to my heart. I am a believer that we all have talents and should try to use them even if we are not going to be the best in the field or the greatest. Just think if everyone tried to be their best selves and use their talents for self-enrichment and also to bless others, what a wonderful world this would be. One of the great thing about blogs and forums is that you can meet people with such a desire for learning. I love that about you. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for everything that I have learned from you in 2005! I am wishing Merry Christmas again. Also Happy New Year!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thank you, Amira, and thank you, Barb! I have really appreciated your friendship and your views on things. I feel that my perspective on things has expanded and improved from getting to know people online. I suppose I like to discuss self-improvement issues because I need it so much! I hope your Christmases are Merry and Christ-centered and that you will have a very Happy and Prosperous 2006!

2:52 AM  
Blogger David B. said...

Merry Christmas to you Mary. I hope the New year brings you much happines and fulfillment.

11:04 PM  

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