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I have had “live in 4 star style” as a New Year’s Resolution for as long as I have been writing resolutions. The expression obviously comes from the rating system of restaurants and hotels that existed in the years I first started contemplating resolutions. In the 1970s, grade point averages peaked at 4.0 and so did rating systems. But my resolution has nothing to do with living a sumptuous life. In the same way that a quaint, unassuming bed and breakfast might qualify for a top rating because of its uniqueness, quality of service, or the fact that it is situated on a breathtaking ocean bluff, I attempt to live my life in my own personal 4 star style.

For me, that means being true to myself and my sense of celebration of life through relationships and an attitude of appreciation.  It means things like keeping a gratitude journal, hiding love notes in my husband’s gym bag, adding a personal greeting to that birthday card (not just my signature), and not waiting for a special occasion to use the “good” dishes.  It’s about being a little more patient, being a little more forgiving. 

In classic goal setting terms, this is a ridiculous resolution. It gets points for being a goal that is under my control but how do I make it specific and measurable?  I don’t even want to.  How do I know when I’ve been successful? I know. There is a certain element of spontaneity that this resolution requires and yet there has to be planning to make it successful. It’s an oxymoron, of some type. Sometimes I lead with my head and sometimes my heart. Even without specific timelines or markers to meet, there are days and times when I know that I have failed miserably.  I know when I’ve been too tired or too focused, on myself, to put in the extra effort. I know when I’m just being lazy. But I also recognize when the extra effort turns an ordinary day into something special.  Each day really is a new beginning and I like that.

And so I enter 2012 with my absurdly undefined and basically outdated (I know I should update to 5 Star Style) resolution. But it is my “old tradition” and it makes a year of 365 or 366 days full of possibilities…. possibilities for celebration.