First off, I get it. Nothing is more annoying this time of year than the, “I promise to lose weight,” “I will be more green,” and, “I will spend less money,” New Year’s swears. I have certainly experienced my own share of declarations shortly after each December 31st, many to ultimately fall short of my original hopes and dreams. And while failure certainly happens, over the years I have learned that resolutions are essential – for all of us. To me, not believing in resolutions is a lot like not believing in hopes, goals, or dreams. And furthermore, “not believing,” can also, at times, come off as, “not supporting.” Let’s pause here for a moment.
Since the last time I used one it resonated really well, I am going to pull from my Grey’s Anatomy tool box, yet again. Please observe the following:
“Fresh starts. Thanks to the calendar, they happen every year. Just set your watch to January. Our reward for surviving the holiday season, is a new year. Bringing on the great tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Put your past behind you, and start over. It’s hard to resist the chance at a new beginning. A chance to put the problems of last year to bed.
Who gets to determine when the old ends, and the new begins? It’s not a day on a calendar, not a birthday, not a new year. It’s an event. Big or small. Something that changes us. Ideally, it gives us hope.
A new way of living and looking at the world. Letting go of old habits, old memories. What’s important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning.
But it’s also important to remember that amid all the crap are a few things really worth holding on to.”
What are you letting go of and what are you holding on to? Your own swearing off of resolutions doesn’t mean you aren’t dreaming, hoping, planning, and wishing. And the mere presence of other’s also shouldn’t hinder you from reaching out, supporting, and helping people achieve their short, temporary, and/or long-term goals. Again, “What’s important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning.”
A few weeks ago, I had a friend text me with the dilemma of what she wanted to be when she, “grew up.” Facing this same struggle every single day, and with hundreds of dreams always coming in and out of my peripheral, I found some solidarity with her, focusing less on an exact career plan. Instead, I focused on myself, and who I would be rather than what I would be. In fact, I would argue, who we want to be when we grow up is different from what we want to be when we grow up. Now, we can find parts of who we are within that what, but ultimately these are two different concepts. And it was this past few months where I have finally fully grasped and appreciated this sentiment.
It has become a new challenge for me, and now a hope for all others. Separate the two. Aside from my aforementioned career-inquiring friend, one of my best friends from college recently reached out to talk about resolutions since she knows I’m a firm advocate for them. She has a goal of losing 50lbs. Of course, I support this, and am so thankful that she feels comfortable to share this with me. But then I started to doubt myself shortly after her confession. And as I grappled with this new information, I started to think about my role in her self-disclosure. Specifically, What responsibility do I now have to my friend to help her, push her, support her, encourage her?
And the answer is, a ton.
In fact, we all do. Sharing a New Year’s resolution is like sharing a secret. Some are big, and some super petty and fun. And either way, both should be engaged carefully and shared thoughtfully. And more than that, each resolution should be respected fully. And this is where the nay-sayer should pause and listen up.
No resolution? Anti-resolution? Embrace this: Focus on you. Focus on who you want to be, how you want to live, and when you are and can be your most authentic self. That’s a start, right? You see, these are the things which matter most. While I support all those aiming to lose weight, spend less, go green, and the list goes on and on, I am, more times than not, suspending my own dreams and destroyed-goals for these very sentiments. Me. And, of course, I challenge you to do the same.
Focus on you this year, and the rest will fall into place.
New year, new you. Embrace life, embrace the best you.