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I ditched making New Year's resolutions long ago. Instead, I honed in on a phrase or mantra that would carry me through the year and keep me grounded.

In 2024, my mantra is "be gentle". 

[This will be hard for me. For those of you familiar with the Enneagram, I'm a Three, an "Achiever" or "Performer". Known for being Type A, super efficient, goal oriented and deriving self worth for getting things done, I am not always gentle --- particularly on myself. Sometimes the best parts of us are also the worst!]

I think the "be gentle" phrase started sinking in last November when our Christmas turkey flock was exterminated to prevent the spread of Avian Influenza. How could this happen again? WTF? (And I rarely use the F word, but it felt justified here).

Again, I was reminded that no matter how hard I try to control things or craft an outcome in my favour, some things are just out of my hands.

Hold life gently.

Maybe it was the warm weather that felt like October and the brown landscape, but I just couldn't get into the Christmas spirit in 2023 --- which is weird for me because I LOVE Christmas and ALL the trappings. I didn't even want to put up a tree! Also weird for me.

Kevin suggested "let's put up the tree, add some lights and leave it at that. We don't need to decorate. It looks pretty."

Just that simple sentence released me from my self-imposed expectations of creating a sparkly Christmas that I just didn't feel. I simply decorated the tree with nature --- pine cones, vines and burlap bird ornaments. It was subtle, beautiful and gave a nod to our snow-less outdoor vistas.

Hold expectations gently.

Usually I take the tree down right away after Christmas ('cause that's what my to-do list says), but to "be gentle", I'm leaving it up a bit longer to sit and enjoy the light. It just feels good.

Hold time gently.

Can I carry this gentle light into 2024? It's TBD.

As with myself, I want to be gentle in my relationships with parents, Kevin, kids, employees, and customers.

I want to be gentle with my calendar, leaving white space for rest and more time to play.

I want to be gentle on the earth --- finding ways to live well but also care for our little piece of the planet.

What word or phrase frames your 2024? I'm curious to know.

~ Melanie Boldt




  • Heather, I like “pretty”. Let me know how it carries you in 2024!

  • Hi Melanie, and happy new year! I’m goal oriented, too, but I’ve been choosing a word to carry me into the new year. Last year it was Better: get better, feel better, do better by folks, help folks do better. Make Better focaccia! This year my word is Pretty.


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