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It is that time of year again

January 5, 2009

by Jenni Sebora

It is that time of year again. It is the new year, and it is time for new resolutions.

How about a resolution that has more to do with attitude? An attitude change or maybe just an “upgrade”.

Our attitude certainly affects our actions. I guess, with the state of the economy, some people may question, or just plain have a hard time with the notion of improving one’s attitude.

As they say, we can’t always change our circumstances, but we can change how we react to them.

Charles Swindoll had this to say about attitude:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do.

“It is more important than appearances, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home.

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.

“We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude . . .

“I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our attitudes.”

And so it is. We are in charge of our attitudes. Maybe, instead of saying this isn’t the appropriate time to ask ourselves to improve our attitudes, maybe we should decide that it is the best time to do it. It is what we need to do as we live our lives in this time in history.

I am going to try to wake up every day and consciously make the effort to improve each day, with the attitude, “What can I do to brighten up my husband’s – my children’s – my family’s lives?” This is my New Year’s resolution.

It may be something small, but we know that’s how good things happen. And better yet, this attitude adjustment doesn’t cost any money. Our children will also benefit greatly from this role modeling of positive behavior.

We also know it involves more muscles to frown than it does to smile; consciously try it once. Frown; then smile. It really does take much less effort to smile. So if your New Year’s resolution isn’t to exercise those facial muscles, then you are in business. Smile more and frown less.

It is amazing what a difference that can make to your own life, as well as someone else’s who is the beneficiary of the smile or cordial greeting.

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

“Every time you smile, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” This was another quote by Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to spreading the true wealth – love, companionship, belonging, and faith.

And Bob Hope also said, “I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” He would know; that is what he did for a living.

Happy new year. May your new year be merry and bright and if it is, it will be made by how we choose to act and react. May we find reason to spread happiness and cheer by beginning with ourselves and our own family.