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Guiding Light

Letting a theme guide your life provides more impact than resolutions. My theme for 2023? Choose joy, intentionally.

For the first time ever, I decided that 2023 was going to have a theme, or mantra if you will. I don’t consider myself to be one of those people who set resolutions consistently year over year. If you are that type of person, good for you. But honestly, I’ve never been the type. For some reason, 2023 is one I foresee as transformational, but not in the systems-crashing-down sense. Simply, transformational for me.

I will clue you in to what my theme is. It is this: choose joy, intentionally. I’ve written at least two posts recently that centered on joy (Joy Comes in the Morning and Choose Joy). Now that you know my theme, it may make sense.

Choose joy, intentionally.

What does that even mean? It means that you will look for the good and find promise in all the days to come. It means that you will pay attention to the small, everyday interactions as well as those events that demand your full-on attention. It means that when an average day provides good and bad in equal denomination, you will let the good override your categorization of the day. It means that on those days when the world does its worst, you will take time (to think/cope/grieve/reflect), and then brush yourself off and pick yourself up.

It means that you will not let worry guide your decisions or bitterness to cloud your heart. It means you will find ways of connecting to others that you may only see in passing as you go about your day.

When you seek joy, it has a powerful potency to change the trajectory of not just your life, but of those around you. It is contagious and yet unassuming. And because of its unassuming nature, it must be sought out intentionally.

Joy can be fleeting. When it is fleeting, it is easily eclipsed by sadness and anger. But when joy is intentional, it is no longer fleeting. It becomes all-encompassing.

Once that happens, your life is transformed. Your power to transform others is magnified. Joy allows your heart to see through your eyes, spur your body into action, and hear the things that go unsaid. A close cousin of empathy and peace, joy is the gatekeeper to all that we seek in books, nature, and in the arts.

We have the power to harness joy. No bridle or trap is needed. Tickets are free.

Just be cognizant. Intentional.

Thought leaders debate how long it takes for something to become a habit, or for new behavior to become automatic. If the experts cannot agree, I don’t think I will bother to throw my hat into the ring for a particular amount of time. But what I will say is that making a habit out of joy has no downside.

Make it a part of your life, each and every day. Before long, it will become a habit (and maybe you can declare a winner in the habit-timeframe debate).

There are other themes you may choose that are no less worthy. If joy is not your thing, find an intangible theme to guide your life. Perhaps its being your true self, or love, or worrying less.

Notice that I said theme and not resolution. Resolutions tend to be the tangible—weight loss, eating healthy, organization, and on and on. If resolutions are not guided by or occur in tandem with the intangible, even if we accomplish a resolution—we don’t feel the same level of satisfaction.

Find your intangible guiding light and let it guide you as you usher in your next chapter.

The world awaits.

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Charlotte A. Cason
Charlotte A. Cason
Jan 19, 2023

Excellent theme for 2023. Resolutions usually don't last even a month, and joy and or happiness is a choice. Well said and well written. If more people would choose joy what a nicer world it would be.

Holly Bills
Holly Bills
Jan 22, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, and yes, I am looking forward to a world where more people embrace joy!

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