As we get closer and closer to the end of the year, is anybody else bracing themselves for the onslaught of posts from the “new year, new me” gang?
Maybe I’m being pessimistic…after all, I do have some hope that the collective has learned their lesson about setting resolutions or (the even more laughable) goals for 2022.
Been thinking about this for a few days now, and I’ve given myself permission to treat January 1 like any other day….no 2022 New Year’s resolution for me!
So with just days before the new year, I’m gonna try to get ahead of the flow of new year’s resolution posts and remind you to cut yourself some slack.
Table of contents (jump ahead)
Here are my top 3 reasons why you don’t need a 2022 New Year’s Resolution.
ONE: Your plate is already full…
So full in fact, it’s overflowing onto the table, and all you can do is watch as your toddler casually swipes its contents to the floor. [face palm]
We don’t need another thing to plan, keep track of, and eventually turn into self-imposed guilt and shame. You’ve had your fair share of guilt, and frankly, you don’t need another thing you *should* do… “should” being flexible to include anything imposed by society’s expectations or by comparing ourselves to others.
Let’s just skip it altogether this year. It may not feel like we’re lightening that mental load, but I’m telling myself that we are.
Me personally? I know that things are going to continually be added to that plate, and that the endless stream of open browser tabs in my mind and on my computer are likely going to stay flowing, BUT I give myself permission to not purposefully add something else I don’t actually need to that list.
TWO: You are currently doing your dang best, and it’s absolutely enough…
In fact, I would give you a medal if I could. You are KILLING it.
You are doing so great that you don’t NEED a resolution. The very idea of a resolution is a message that something about you is not good enough, and you need to change it. That is FALSE.
Despite the overwhelm, despite breakdowns, despite feeling like a hot mess 99.9% of the time, we are doing okay. We’re probably doing better than okay.
In any case, the best we can do right now, today, this second, is enough. I give myself permission to let my best on any given day be enough (and it’s okay if that looks different from one minute to the next).
THREE: There’s nothing special or transformative about January 1st…
I know some people are totally stoked by the opportunity held within a fresh 12 month period, but that’s not the case for me. If I was ambivalent before about New Year’s resolutions, the general experience of 2020 made me pretty resolutely opposed.
Why should January 1st be a marker of this opportunity? Why can’t a random Tuesday in April hold that same power?
Not for nothing…a lot can change in the course of a year (and I KNOW I don’t need to tell you that, considering we are nearing the 3 mark of a global pandemic). My needs, desires, and perspectives could shift drastically between today and 365 days from now.
If you don’t know by now, I am all for personal growth. I am one of those “continual learners,” itching to get my hands on the next book or journaling the next reflection. In my mind, the possible growth and opportunity that lies within all of us is not necessarily something we can predict or plan to measure. If I tried to channel all of that opportunity into a resolution, I’d go crazy AND I’d likely give up (like the majority of resolution makers, no shade if you are one of the many).
Putting all my planning energy in resolutions and goals for a clock that starts January 1st…I don’t have time for it. I give myself permission to go with the flow.
What can we do instead of New Year’s Resolutions?
We all have more important fish to fry. Let’s skip the resolutions this year.
At first, I thought about this as “things we should do instead” but frankly, after the last 2+ years we’ve had, I shudder at the thought of another thing that MUST get done.
Instead, here are some options for alternatives to New Year’s resolutions. These are OPTIONAL, flexible, and hopefully vindicating.
Use one, use them all, use none. Change your mind. Do what works. Take what feels good, leave the rest.
Let’s make this year the one that we celebrate ourselves. Let’s celebrate the wins, the tiny steps in the right direction, and the movement toward embodying that idea or feeling we are aiming for. Reward yourself with some kind self-talk and bask in your amazingness.
In my inner conflict with resolutions in years past, I learned to really love intention. While resolutions are goals that don’t necessarily provide the path forward, intentions are the [flexible] map to getting there.
Resolutions are cast in the future, and often have an air of “my current state is not good enough.” Instead, setting an intention and keeping it in mind allows us to remain focused in the present, and gives a more positive spin to the growth we’re experiencing .
Intentions give us more wiggle room for human nature, so when things inevitably get hard, they help us redirect without punishment or shame. Resolutions don’t give me that same grace.
For me, I’d rather think about this moment and what’s in my control, rather than wasting energy and time thinking about stuff that is too far in the future. Am I good at doing that? No…do I intend to focus on what is in my control at any given moment? YES.
This does not have to be high tech or high pressure. It doesn’t even have to be constant, just try it out occasionally. Keep it simple, and make it your own version of lovely.
Need some examples? Here are a few that might help get you started.
- I am…kind to myself even when I’m feeling under pressure.
- I want to feel…more joy in my life.
- I intend to…be aware in the present moment.
- I want to…appreciate everything in my life as much as possible.
- I have…a healthy relationship with my mind, body and soul.
Give ourselves some more grace
We can all give ourselves a little more room to make mistakes and be imperfect humans, especially if our vision of “perfect” is something we’ve accidentally constructed from years of comparison despair. (social media say whaaaaat?)
Let’s get ahead of the comparison and remind ourselves that we are doing just fine. It’s OKAY for things to be messy. It’s OKAY to not have it all figured out. It’s OKAY to mess up.
There is joy to be had in all of this, and we deserve to speak kindly to ourselves (at all times, but especially when we are feeling “less than.”)
Have a word for the year.
In the last few years, I’ve heard a lot about ditching resolutions and having a word of the year instead. Similar to intentions, the word is rooted in the present moment, acting as a symbol and reminder of the positive change you are moving toward.
When in doubt or despair, we can think about our word of the year to help guide us in knowing the next right step.
Some words I’m playing around with? Fun. Presence. Ease.
Others that might feel good for you: Joy. Abundance. Connection. Strength.
I think the key is keeping the word in mind, particularly when we are struggling or suffering. I’ve been testing it out for a few days, and here’s how:
How can I make this moment more [insert word of the year]?
Try it out. Let me know what you think.
Nothing. None of the above.
If NONE of these are striking a chord (or if they’re striking a really gross, dissonant chord) OR if you are just OVER it… feel free to refer to the initial 3 reasons why not, and carry on without the added pressure of a New Year’s resolution.
Ready to commit to not committing? Let’s catch up, because I’d love to hear how you’re approaching 2022.
Happy new year, friends.