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I’m not interested in hearing the resolutions you’re making for January 2011. I want to hear what your life will look like next December.

A few years ago I stopped listing the activities I would start or stop in January and started thinking about how I wanted my life to have changed in a year’s time. I quit thinking in terms of “vows” and began thinking in terms of “vignettes.”

For instance, last December I asked myself what would improve my life in 2010 and how it would feel to experience those moments.

Some happened: making new friends, planting a garden, jogging, saying no to a few clients, and saving more money for retirement.  Because I chose these things, 2010 included scenes of laughing and talking with fun people, picking fresh vegetables, running in my neighborhood, enjoying more free time, and feeling more financially secure.

Others didn’t: I grew my hair out longer, then hated it. I am still not much better at unitasking. I did not consistently volunteer or cook from scratch each week.

But this was still one of my best years ever, and this week I get to decide which scenes I want to live in 2011.

The unitasking one will be back, for serious this time, with a mental picture of feeling more productive and less scattered. Trying to stay on schedule with the daily chronological Bible made the year worse, not better; when I got behind I felt guilty and the pace didn’t allow for serious reflection or study of anything. Instead of picturing the “win” of finishing Revelation on New Year’s Eve (not gonna happen Friday, by the way) I’m thinking about ending next year more knowledgeable about a few issues that especially matter to me right now. I spend most of most days sitting and stressing in front of a computer screen, so 2011 will include a lot more stretching and hiking and I will motivate myself by picturing a stronger, healthier and more flexible me next Christmas.

As a new year approaches, you can either resolve to make abrupt changes (which are unlikely to last) or gradually rewrite the trajectory of twelve months. What will you choose? What moments do you want to create in 2011?

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