For as long as I can remember, I’ve always set New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, after visiting my parent’s house this holiday, I came across my old high school journal. Here were the resolutions I had written as a 15-year old:
- Do 8-minute abs every day.
- Stop worrying about guys and just do my own thing.
- Be more confident.
- Go running more often/workout 5-7 days a week.
- Don’t worry about the little things.
I laughed to my current self. I remembered writing these resolutions with the intention of turning into a better person. At the time, I was dealing with petty boy issues and for some reason, I strongly believed that if I could accomplish all five of these things (especially #3), I would suddenly become the most likable person at school. If I worked out more and got abs of steel, then my chances of being asked to prom were much higher. If I was more confident, maybe my friends would like me more.
But why did I even worry about any of this? Maybe I should have taken my advice of resolution #5 and I would have been just fine.
But I didn’t. And neither do most of us, during this time of the year. In fact, as soon as December creeps into a distant memory of crumpled wrapping paper and dried up mistletoe, we begin to worry. We reminisce on what we did or didn’t accomplish over the past 12 months and then regret that we did or didn’t do something.
“I should have moved for that new job because I’m miserable in my current one and my friends here are too busy to hang out anyway. Now I’ll never know what it’s like living in a brand new city.”
“I shouldn’t have gone out on a date with that person. It basically set me back five dating years.”
“I should have gone to the gym more. I probably would fit that dress that is 4 sizes too small for the average human being.”
We hit our heads against the wall for thinking that this year, just like every year, we were not enough. But this is not true. What have you done this year that you are proud of? Whether it was small or big, it was something pretty awesome and it probably made you smile. Why compare that with 364 other days in the year? That doesn’t sound fair, does it? Setting resolutions often comes with the premise that we were not good enough this year or that we are not happy with our current selves. Life isn’t perfect and setting one “resolution” that will most likely be broken within 2 weeks doesn’t help with our self-esteem either.
For years, people have campaigned to suddenly be different as soon as the calendar flipped to January. But why? Is this ever actually the time a new leaf turns over and we’re suddenly photoshopped into the perfect version of ourselves? No. Instead of committing to a list of characteristics and traits we need to inherit immediately, how about we commit to proudly continuing along the messy journey we call life?
As 2015 begins, I’m not going to push you away from setting resolutions. If you choose to do so, I want you to explore the intention behind your list this year. Where are these yearly “to-do’s” stemming from? Are they coming from a place of insecurity and need? Or are they blossoming from a desire to live fully and happily? Or maybe you’re happy with everything you’re doing and you don’t want to set resolutions that will change you, but instead set goals that will help you grow. There are so many voices this year telling us to embrace the “new year, new you” mantra. I disagree. This year, you should still be you… you in all your messy, crazy and unapologetic glory. Just keep doing that. Do whatever you want and whatever makes you happy. January has never expected more of you.