I gave up New Year’s Resolutions and you should too.
If we really want better health, wealth and happiness, setting a focus is more appropriate.
I love the turn of the calendar and thinking about goals for the new year (or month, or day). They help ground me and establish a routine and focus. And, I always find New Year’s Resolutions are easy to make.
They’re also easy to break. And therein lies my issue.
Resolutions set us up for failure and disappointment. If you lose 9 pounds instead of 10, or make it to the final round of interviews but don’t get the job, or forget to make the bed one morning when you’re in a rush, it feels like the whole year is ruined and here it is, January 12 and you may as well start over.
Or, at least, that’s how I feel. My therapist (!!!) says that
I have she hears a lot of black and white thinking from me — that I speak and think in the extremes. Which, 1) How dare she and 2) I’ll be coming back to in a moment.
When it comes to making resolutions, I challenge myself to think higher. Because, what are these resolutions really about? Ultimately, what’s losing 10 pounds if I fret the whole time about how I look, versus feeling confident and happy in my body? Or what’s an unmade bed in the morning, if I have a home that is clean, safe and an environment of happiness? If I’m trying to think higher level about what I want in the year, then my “resolutions” should be the same and ladder up to a larger theme.
Here’s how I like to think about it: build a focus to which your goals can journey toward. That can be a verb (“Growth”), or a focus area (“The Year of Mental Health”) a statement, (“Journey of Joy”, which was mine this year like some gd blogger in 2014), or really anything at all. The point is that you bucket your goals – yes, multiple, because we’re full, multi-faceted and complicated people made up of more than one thing – around a bigger idea. So, rather than losing pounds or making the bed every morning, it becomes about movement and health, establishing routines, finding zen.
Which brings me back to the black and white thinking. I’m refusing, once again, to set myself up for a harsh line of success or failure, but looking more closely at living in the grey and being comfortable with that. It’s a year of investment. There was a lot going on this year – micro level: new job, new city, new house; macro level: I’m not even going to start listing things — and I like the idea of simply taking time to hunker down and focus on self-care, growth, doing more of what I love, just because. I haven’t come up with a snappy theme name yet, but I’m also telling myself to be OK with that. (See? I’m already better about the black and white thinking. So there.)
What that looks like is different for me and will take practice. Working out simply to move through the day and feel grateful for the body I’m in. (Oh! Everyone is on steroids, by the way, so working out to reach an Instagram ideal is not setting yourself up for success.) Writing when I can and trying not to care if people think I’m a big loser person (See: this post.) Not trying to do anything big and bold in 2022, but investing in me and the people around me to prepare for what’s to come in 2023 and beyond. In a third year of Covid, in a world where so much is unpredictable, what could be more important than that?
Plus, it gets me out of making the bed every morning.
So, Happy 2022! And if you, Dear Reader/my 8 or so followers, have read this far I appreciate you giving me a chance to write, a little something to look forward to and chat about with you. Looking forward to all the things we will invest in through the year!