How I Will Be Making My New Year Resolutions of Love

If both Hanukkah and Christmas commemorate moments where we remember that God intervened in our lives-- be it by keeping a single-day of oil burning for eight days as the Jews rededicated their temple or impregnating a young woman to give birth to a baby who was to show the world what love looked like in action--then the approach of New Years should naturally stem from the awareness that God is among us.  December reminds us that our lives are more than just ours.  We go into January knowing that there is something bigger at play.

I want my New Year to be birthed from a really divine place.  I want my hopes to feel magical.  I want my dreams to feel in alignment with my work in this world.  I want my resolutions to change more in this world than a few pounds off my body. I want my goals to not just feel like an obligatory to-do list or a re-hash of last years failed attempts.

Whatever belief system you have in place and whatever word you use for that which is bigger than us-- I hope you'll take the time to bring the true spirit of Hanukkah and Christmas into your New Year.

Who We Want to Be In 2013

Jim Wallis, the president and CEO of Sojourners and author of forthcoming book, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good, sent out a newsletter this morning that speaks to this point.  He spent the first part of 2012 researching and writing this book about the common good and how we seem to have lost this concept in our politics and our society.

He says, "What I learned in the course of writing was how ancient the concept of the common good really is. This quote dates back to the fourth century:

This is the rule of most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good … for nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for neighbors."

—John Chrysostom (ca. 347–407)

My roots are in Christianity, but yours doesn't need to be in order for that quote to still matter. In fact, some of the most beautiful "imitators of Christ" are the atheists, agnostics, other-religious, and non-religious people I know.

For no matter the religion we do or don't subscribe to, what most of us still quote would be what we call the Golden Rule:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

In other words: work toward the common good.  Care about those around you. Love.

Setting Our New Year Intentions

So as I sit with that this morning, I want the seeds of my New Years resolutions to come from that place of the common good.  Therefore the question I need to be asking myself isn't only "How can I improve my life this year?" but also, "How can improving my life this year serve more people?"

Some of the questions I'm asking myself:

  • Am I as loving as I want to be?
  • Am I acting with as much courage as I am meant to have?
  • Am I becoming a more generous person each year?
  • Am I growing in my own self-awareness so that I am taking more responsibility for my triggers, my responses, and my defensiveness?
  • Am I living more often from a place of  joy?
  • Am I growing in my compassion and empathy for those around me?
  • Am I seeing emotional growth in my life that excites me?

For many of those questions, I find myself pausing, unsure if I can unequivocally say yes.  When I notice that pause, I am then asking, "What could I do in 2013 to become this more loving, courageous, and centered person that I want to be?"

Doesn't that feel so much more significant than beating ourselves up about our body weight, our spending habits, or any other number of actions that produce our immediate guilt?  And don't we think that by focusing truly on who we want to become--people with more joy, peace, patience, and courage--that we'll find our other habits changing to align with what is now more true for ourselves? I think so.

So rather than encouraging you to add "Make 3 new friends this year" or "Call one long-distance friend each week" to your New Year's list; I'm instead inviting you to start from a deep and quiet place to ask yourself: "What quality can I grow that will help me love others better?" Who do you want to be? How do you want to expand?

Then whisper a prayer that expands that in you: "I'm willing to become a more loving, forgiving, generous, kind, centered, hopeful, and patient person."

Choose to be one more person in this world who cares about the common good, who doesn't vote only on self-interest, and who chooses to live from love instead of fear.  And from that place of wanting to grow into a more loving person, trust that your love will pull more people in to give it back to you.

Your love will not produce an empty vacuum, but rather will create a circle of love surrounding you with more meaningful relationships, life purpose, and consequential joy. For love begets love. Love drives out fear.  Love invites greater love.  Love changes us.  Love changes the world.

And that is what I call the greater good. Happy New Year!



My GirlFriendCircles.com Hopes for 2012

Frequently a new coaching client will say to me "I feel stuck."  And I always respond-- "That's simply not true.  The fact that you called me proves that you're moving forward." It is easy though sometimes to feel like we're in a hamster wheel, working hard but not seeing results. What I love about New Years is the chance to take a snapshot of this moment in my life-- what's important today to me, what I learned in the last year, what hopes I hold for the year ahead. For when I take the sacred moment of recording my "right now" I inevitably will be wowed a year from now when I look back on my humble scribbles. I will be reminded that I am indeed growing and becoming.

I thought this year I'd share some of my professional hopes with you.

Which scares me immediately upon saying that.  My ego whispers things like "What if some people think I don't deserve these things? Or aren't capable of them? What if I look presumptuous holding such big hopes? What if I don't accomplish them all? I'm just setting myself up for judgment!"

But here's why I will share my goals for GirlFriendCircles.com anyway:

  • Modeling the Courage to Hope: I think it's really important that all of us learn to be clear about what we want-- without apologies, downplaying, or false humility.  Courage isn't the absence of fear, but rather it's the ability to value something else more than the fear. The more compelling our hopes, the more willing we will be to move toward them.
  • Modeling the Humility of the Unknown: A year from now this post will still be up and we'll all have evidence that I didn't accomplish everything I hoped. And I'll be okay with that being public. No guilt. I accept that I may not know right now what's best for me-- I leave room for Wisdom to change my mind on some goals, for the Universe to give me something different from what I think I need, and for Patience to remind me that some hopes may get seeds planted this year but may not be visible by year-end.  I hope.  And then I let go of it needing to look this exact way.
  • Extending an Invitation to You: And I willingly state my goals with hopes that some of you in the GirlFriendCircles.com community will participate in helping the hopes become realized. You have energy in your local area that I don't have.  You have expertise and ideas I don't have. You have stories I don't have.  I welcome your fingerprints on these intentions!

Shasta's Hopes for GirlFriendCircles.com in 2012

  1. Write the best book on female friendship that I possibly can! I spent much of 2011 learning about the publishing industry, writing my book proposal, pitching agents, and signing a book deal with Turner Publishing. Now, I have to write the book.  :) My deadline is May 31. How you can help: For now just keep encouraging me and cheering for me! I know the time will come when I'll need all hands on deck to help share the book.  What this means for you will hopefully be 1) more women hearing about GFC and joining as your potential friends in the future, and 2) a book that inspires you by validating your experience of how challenging it can be to create new friendships as an adult, why it's so worth it, and how to go beyond meeting new people to actually transforming those contacts into meaningful friends.
  2. Secure funding for GirlFriendCircles.com. I regret that this is an area I know little about, except that I know I need more money to make this community everything I know it can be. I can't keep funding this on my own as much as I believe in it.  This is a goal that is easy for me to put off since I hardly know where to begin, but nevertheless, I am going to start learning! I need staff, more money for advertising, and the expertise to improve the site. How you can help: If you have experience or introductions you can make with angel investors or venture capitalists that you'd be willing to share-- I'm all ears! What this means for you is 1) increased confidence in the future growth of this community, and 2) anticipation of welcoming more members, better user-interface features, etc.
  3. Revamp our GirlFriendCircles.com website and add some new features. We're going to get a facelift on our homepage...sometime this year!  Woo-hoo!  Before then, the first change you'll notice starts next week.  Every Wednesday you'll now receive an email listing any CalendarCircles or ClassifiedCircles that have been added recently in your region.  (Of course you can unsubscribe from those, but we're hoping this helps you keep track of what's going on in your city.) How you can help: 1) Please go add a ClassifiedCircle (shout out for a specific type of friend or activity partner) or a CalendarCircle (any event you place on the local calendar) right now!  That way everyone in your area will see it next week! What this means for you is an increase in the local activity giving you more ways to meet new friends.
  4.  Grow the local chapters. This means we want you to be wowed with how many local members there are in your area.  This will include experimenting with local advertising options, developing our local ambassador program, and securing more local PR options.  How you can help: 1) If you are willing to help us as an ambassador in your area-- let us know. 2) If you are willing to be featured in a local story (newspaper or TV in your area) as someone who has made a friend through GirlFriendCircles.com let us know as we can get coverage if we can promise them a local interview! What this means for you is more amazing women in your area joining so that you have unlimited possibilities for new awesome friendships.
  5. Plan more Publicity Events Across the Country.  I want to get back into more public speaking about women, our need for supportive relationships, how to improve our life/businesses/health with our friends, and how to build the community around us that we crave.  I also want us to figure out more ways of having some of you hosting a local Speed-Friending event in your area!  How you can help: 1) So if you're an event planner, belong to any women's organization that hosts events, or can introduce me to anyone looking for dynamic and inspiring speakers-- I'd welcome your contacts! Or, 2) if you think you'd like to host a speed friending event in your area (scheduling it and learning how to host/organize it) then let me know and we'll do all we can to help! What this means for you is a chance to get actively involved, work with me in promoting healthy friendships, and contribute your energy to the cause!

So those are some of mine.  I don't yet have the "how" all figured out, but I'm sure excited about the possibilities.

I hope you'll take the time to state your own personal desires.  There's something powerful about being clear that we want to play a bigger game in the year ahead.

And I have reason to believe that this time next year we'll be able to look back with gratitude for all that we learned and became along the way.

We are definitely not stuck.


Last Chance at Discount Price: If one of your intentions in 2012 is to ensure that at this time next year you have a fabulous group of local friends, healthy community-- then I invite you to start the New Year with me in my 21 Day Friendship Journey.  Over the course of a month you will journal daily in your workbook designed to bring clarity and understanding in personal growth and relational health AND you will get to call in for weekly group coaching calls! Space is limited to ensure interaction and personal attention.

Enter NEWYEAR as a discount code by Jan. 1, 2012 and save 20% which puts the cost at a mere $20 a week for 4 weeks of growth and inspiration!

Or, sign up with a friend, mother, daughter, or co-worker (your journey is private-- you only share what you want with each other!) and your price drops even more when you choose the 2 Ticket Deal.

Hope you can join us for this eye-opening journey! Sign up now as your stake in the ground that, in fact, healthy community is worth your investment and energy.