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Whats In Your Bucket?
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I don’t believe in New Year Resolutions. I’m a goal setter. Perhaps it’s all just a mind game, but there is something easier about losing your way while attaining a goal rather than ‘breaking a resolution.’

When I get off path while pursuing a goal it’s easier for me to reset and begin again. Something about the resolution animal and a ‘slip’ leaves me feeling like a failure. Goals are not attributed to a New Year; they can be set and/or achieved at any time.

My 2016 goals to most might seem relatively simple and attainable. They don’t include massive weight loss, exotic travel or drastic external change. It does revolve around simplicity, which in this case has more to do with lifestyle and yes for a busy bee such as myself that is proving to be a true challenge.

Among my list are simple things like being present (i.e.: less time with my not so ‘smartphone’ in hand), quality family time and reading books.

I’ve always loved reading be it magazine or books, it’s definitely been a favorite past time. Thankfully I did not go too far astray from this love until my children grew a bit older, so they too love reading.

Juggling and the balance of mommyhood proved to be the cause of my loss of reading time casualty. Then something happened, my children started buying me books as gifts. Suddenly I found myself staring at unread books which were gifts from my children and as any mom knows, that just can’t be.

So on the 2016 goal list went reading.

I’m happy to report that I have completed two books (both gifts) so far in the new year. Oddly finding the time was not as difficult as I originally believed. I simply logged off and checked out, a few times even rising a bit early to read rather than sleep later and rush about the morning. It’s been a fun transition, thus far.

Recently I opened up “How Full is Your Bucket?” by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. It’s a book like many on my bookshelf I acquired from a Friends of the Library Book Sale.

Truthfully I’m a reader of many facets. Always interested in the book of the moment, catching much buzz and interest and equally drawn to books with catchy titles or intriguing art work.

This book in particular I remember being drawn to, due to my knowledge of the children’s book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today,” by Carol McCloud. Awareness of ‘bucket filling’ versus ‘bucket emptying’ has served as a tremendous teaching tool for my children. Lessons which are just as important, or more so for adults.

The words we choose to convey our thoughts linger long beyond our presence.

That’s a deep thought, even for me, but it’s absolutely true. An e-mail from a reader thanking me for doing my job has the ability to touch me for a period much longer than the three minutes it took to pen it.

Truthfully, I don’t do this for the e-mails, letters or accolades. I do it because I love it and the experience it offers me. It’s my passion.

Yet a kind word, acknowledgement or offer of gratitude has the ability to not only change the course of a person’s day, but their life. Examples of this are outlined in the book. Many of us have lived such experiences so it is not a farfetched idea.

So that’s what I’ve added to my goal list for 2016 … to be a better Bucket Filler. Now granted, the words must be sincere and genuine, unsolicited should go without saying. But how hard is it to fill another’s bucket? To share a kind word, offer a smile or offer gratitude for what they bring to the work place, community or world?

Simply put, I’m up for the challenge. Who knew that setting a simple goal of reading more books would be so profound so soon into the New Year? Certainly not me, but I sure am glad I chose to embrace it. Now ... go fill a bucket and have fun doing it.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.