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Planning a Meaningful 2007

Rather than blithely coasting until 2007, why not create a plan for making 2007 The Most Meaningful Year of Your Life so far. Over the next couple of days, reflect upon the following and assess your possible need for improvement:

  • Do you have a belief regarding your relationship to nonhuman animals that is manifested consistently in your actions? I’m not asking if you’re perfect. I’m asking if you have some kind of personal ethic of harmlessness that you then apply to your food and other consumer decisions each day. Do you practice what you preach?
  • And speaking of preaching, how effective are you at explaining your beliefs to people who do not understand them or are hostile to them?
  • What is your level of activism? Are you an activist by living your life according to beliefs? Does your activism stop at living by example? Do you contribute financially to any organizations that further your personal mission? Could you maybe contribute more in 2007? Do you volunteer? Could you volunteer more?
  • Is your "real job" something that helps give your life meaning? Does it support your personal ethic? If not, could you entertain the thought of 2007 being the year you align your work-life with your beliefs?
  • Could you find ways to bring your beliefs into your workplace in a non-offensive way?
  • Do you realize that everything you do in your life tells the world a little bit (and sometimes a lot) about who you are? Do you realize that you are constantly communicating with those around you, simply by wearing what you wear, eating what you eat, and buying what you buy?
  • Is there one particular issue (animal-related or not) that you feel very strongly about? Could you entertain the thought of developing a plan to tackle just that one issue in 2007? World hunger, poverty, overpopulation, global warming, and animal rights are all HUGE topics. And tackling them is admirable. There are also smaller chunks of those topics that you can go after, however, and maybe even completely resolve in your lifetime. If you’re a one-piece-at-a-time kind of person who needs small victories to continue to feel useful and successful, maybe Greyhound racing is your issue. I believe there are some activities or products that might be illegal in the US by the time I check out of this life, such as: elephants in zoos, captive marine mammals, foie gras, veal, bullfighting, and the running of the bulls. Maybe even fur. What makes you the most upset or angry? Are you doing something about it? Could you be doing more?
  • Are you politically involved? Do you want to be? 2008 will be an important year in the US, and there’s no time like 2007 to prepare for it.
  • Make a list of five things about the way you’re currently living your life that need improvement, and develop a plan–action steps–to improve them. And define improvement so you know when you’ve reached it. What does improvement look like? What is your destination?
  • Are you surrounded by people who support you in your beliefs? Do you have an extended network of people who support you? Are there three people whom you can speak with about your struggles? Is there one person you can look to for guidance in your struggles? Perhaps seeking out like-minded individuals might be a good idea for you in 2007.

List your intentions for 2007, list what you are going to do about them, and then bring your list to life. Even if you have the impression that life happens to you, it doesn’t. You create your life, whether you’re paying attention and doing it intentionally or not. Create the life you want, and the world you want to be part of.

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