Greetings and welcome back to a new year and new beginnings! By the time you read this, I hope you have joyfully welcomed 2023 with much excitement for what lies in store during the coming year. Many of us have set our annual goals, created plans, and made commitments for what we want to accomplish this year. This week, as I was driving down State Street in Orem past one of my favorite dessert places, I noticed the invitation on their marquee that reads, “Break your resolutions here!” It had been a long day, and lunch had been hours ago. Had it not been for the traffic and lateness of the hour, I honestly would have wheeled my car around and accepted that invitation without any consideration of the commitment I have made to make 2023 a healthier and more cholesterol-free year! Funny how my best laid plans could have been so easily forgotten. I think we can all relate to setting our good intentions aside in moments of weakness. I am often comforted in these moments by thoughts given by Elder Uchtdorf.
We almost certainly will fail—at least in the short term. But rather than be discouraged, we can be empowered because this understanding removes the pressure of being perfect right now. It acknowledges from the beginning that at one time or another, we may fall short. Knowing this up front takes away much of the surprise and discouragement of failure.
When we approach our goals this way, failure doesn’t have to limit us. Remember, even if we fail to reach our ultimate, desired destination right away, we will have made progress along the road that will lead to it.
And that matters—it means a lot.
Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before (“The Best Time to Plant a Tree,” Ensign, 2014).
Thankfully, we are not limited to making new resolutions just on January 1—we can commit and recommit any day or moment of the year. Today as I passed the McKay School Mission and Vision posters in the halls of our building, I recommitted myself to those statements that we developed together over the last several years. I am deeply humbled and find strength in knowing that as members of the McKay School of Education, we can support each other in the common resolutions we have made to be disciples of Jesus Christ; to value and treat every person as a divine and valued child of God; to be a dedicated scholar, teacher, and role model of living the gospel; and to “devote our minds and spirits to our work, so we can nurture the full potential others—for the benefit of the world” (MSE Mission and Vision; For the Benefit of the World). I invite you to think about this again and join with me in recommitting yourself to these goals in this new year.
As we “ring out the old, [and] ring in the new,” (Tennyson) let us consider as Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Indeed, may each day of 2023 be better than the day before, and may this year be better than the last. Be good to yourself, be good to others, make good choices, do good things. Know that you are valued and appreciated for being who you are as well as for the contributions you make. Hold fast to your commitments. Be happy. Have joy. Remember the admonition of Helen Keller who said, “Your success and happiness lie in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
Life is good and working with you all has been and is one of my greatest blessings. I wish you all, my friends, a blessed new year ahead!