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I love the sense of newness and possibility we often feel on the first day of the year. It’s a wonderful moment for making new plans.

Of course, we know what the real challenge is, don’t we? The follow-through!

It’s about what happens to our plans and dreams and resolutions when daily life rushes in with all its demands and distractions.

We probably shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves here. We’re probably doing better than we think we are.

But it does raise an interesting question:

What does it take to translate my plans and ideas and dreams into everyday life?

What keeps me going? What is the fuel of my plans and dreams? And when I run out of gas…how do I refuel?

Here’s a “refueling thought” from Dr. Samuel Johnson:

“The love of life is necessary to the vigorous prosecution of any undertaking.”

What if you thought of the “love of life” as the prerequisite for anything you want to do this year.

What if you saw all of your undertakings as expressions of something quieter and deeper—your commitment to love life.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be dark times. It’s a quiet affirmation to say yes, to open up, to care deeply—not in spite of problems and disappointments but because problems and disappointments are going to be there.

A Jewish man who had been horribly tortured in the concentration camps of World War II, disabled for life, joined together with other concentration camp survivors after the war to start an organization devoted to helping the less fortunate.

An interviewer asked him, “You’ve suffered so much yourself; why have you decided to spend your life helping others?”

He thought for a moment, then answered, “Ultimately, it is because we love life.”