2014 - A great time to reset

I have written four stories already on New Year's Resolutions for 2014 for the four Shaw Media magazines I contribute to.

I interviewed at least eight different "experts" addressing the obvious topics of losing weight, eating healthier, being more organized and spending more time with family.

But the most helpful advice I learned for starting off 2014 in a better way I learned Sunday in church.

Pastor Bruce Cole at Journey Church in Huntley said the new year gives us a good time to reset.

It is a time to choose to live with more tenderness and gentleness.

I take this to mean to be more gentle and tender with yourself first, then with those around you.

You can't give what you don't have.

Go easy on yourself first and then you may see the world, your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and even maybe your career in a different, brighter, more positive way.

Cole said the average time many spend on this earth is 78.7 years. So how should we live those years?

It really is up to you to decide.

This present moment is "elusive," Cole said.  Once it is gone it is gone. So be careful, thoughtful in how you choose to spend each moment.

He said many often "misremember" the past. So why not just leave the bad and the not-so-great events in the past?

Rethinking those moments over and over (as I am often guilty of) won't change the outcome.

Move forward. Breathe in - breathe out.

The future is filled with opportunity. What we feel today, how we approach the afternoon, then the evening, then the morning, no matter what happened yesterday, will affect the way next week turns out. (Read that again slowly.)

When I was growing up there were kids around me making really bad choices, dropping out of  high school, getting pregnant, running the streets with the wrong crowd.

I wasn't perfect, but I tried to be mindful not to screw up too badly.

I don't know where the little voice came from, but I always heard this little voice in my head telling me to be careful because every little choice and action I make that day would affect me in my future.

I knew I wanted better than what I saw going on around me. So, I listened to that voice and tried really hard to remember that I was going to have a future. I was determined to have a good future.

So, no matter at what age you are reading this, anyone can start with that thought today. If you have made mistakes up until this point, you can still stop and turn things around.

You still have a future to live out.

You can reset.

See you in the New Year.

Until next time, love each other.

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    Bittersweet

    I have been a professional journalist for 20 years. I have written hundreds of news and feature stories, typed zillions of words for an array of major newspapers – Life Newspapers, Waukesha Freeman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Indianapolis Star, and for the last ten years the Chicago Tribune and Triblocal. I grew up in Cicero, am a product of the public school system and a graduate Columbia College Chicago. I love this town!

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