It’s that time of year again. The time when we take stock of the year behind us and resolve to be healthier, happier and smarter in the coming year. For several years now, my list of New Year’s resolutions has included 1) travel to Italy, 2) lose 20 pounds and 3) write a novel. All admirable resolutions, yet they remain unfulfilled. Well, except for losing 20 pounds. I actually lost 35 pounds in 2009, so I can finally cross that off my list! As I read back through my journal last Sunday afternoon, I wondered about these unfulfilled resolutions. Are my dreams really that lofty? Or is their continued presence on my list simply an indicator of how busy I’ve allowed my life to become? As a single mom with three boys, my yearning for faraway cultures has become secondary to more immediate needs…like paying the bills, saving for college, and unexpected emergency room visits. The daily chores associated with making a living and raising a family too often leave little time or energy for creative endeavors like writing a novel. Last year’s list of unfulfilled resolutions is a reminder that sometimes, it is okay to be selfish with my time. Sometimes, it’s okay to leave the unwashed dishes in the sink so I can write chapter 3 of my novel. Now, with the final days of 2009 rapidly melting into a new year, my thoughts are focused on how to balance my responsibilities to my family with my responsibilities to my desires. I’ve decided to replace my New Year’s resolutions with New Year’s desires — a list of activities that enrich and fulfill me as an individual. I’m also thinking about the restoration of my life associated with my New Year’s desires. There are a thousand small changes and decisions behind each desire, and this year, my focus will be on taking those tiny baby steps of change. After all, it’s the small changes in our lives that help us to create our dreams.