I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, I never have been because I can make a fresh start at any time, beginning a new chapter can occur on any random Tuesday, or Wednesday or in the middle of any month on the calendar. Why wait? If my mind is set, then I should do it!
That said, I do like to theme my years. I typically have a word or a phrase that I try to incorporate into my daily life for that year. One year, 2012, the phrase was appropriately “fake it ’til you make it.” In 2013, the phrase was simply “be relevant.” One year, I had a close friend fighting for her life with breast cancer…the phase that year, which I applied to my own life, was “C is meaner than cancer!” Needless to say, that was year that I was finally angry over the death of my spouse, it was a contentious year indeed. This year, 2020, I have stolen something I heard our pastor say, “do the next right thing.”
I have given this quite a bit of thought, DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING. The way I see it, it can be broken down and viewed several ways:
- When I don’t know what to do in any given situation, I should do the next right thing. If I can’t figure out what that is, then I am overthinking or thinking too hard. I don’t need to solve all the world’s problems, not even my own, just do the next right thing that presents itself. It may be as simple as opening a door for someone, or offering a smile to a sour face as I walk past.
- Do the next right thing can mean skipping the criticism. Just because I think something is true, doesn’t mean it needs to be said. If it offers no true value and is hurtful to someone else, it is NOT the next right thing. This can also mean being mindful of the HOW in the things I express. If the truth I am speaking has value and needs to be said, think about HOW I am choosing to express it. Leave out the insults, in actuality they will diminish the point I am trying to make. One of my favorite quotes ever is from Bishop Desmond Tutu, “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” Honestly, I wish I remembered this more in my day to day life.
- Do the next right thing can be an expression of self care. Taking care myself is so important, especially during a journey of grief, rebuilding, and maintenance. Do things that make me feel a moment of peace or joy or give me a feeling of accomplishment. And this task can vary from day to day. Some days it is a simple as taking a shower, while others can mean I spend a day compiling and filing my taxes. It can be getting a pedicure or organizing my closet. Anything that makes me feel like you did something for myself, something good, even if only for a fleeting moment.
Do you know what you do, after you do the next right thing? You DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING. Keep it up, like putting one foot in front of the other.
That is MY plan for 2020.
*special thanks and credit to Rob McDowell for my phrase of the year.