Just before the 2015 New Year, I wrote the post: So, you don’t believe in resolutions? As a result of goal-shaming and critique around folks’ excitement for a new year, this post was important for me to write. I have always loved the start of new things, and this philosophy was put to the test when I returned to the United States last year after living in China for three months.
I wrote this specific piece just after the China stint, and after a month of traveling from Seattle to San Antonio, by way of Portland, Los Angeles, and Tucson. Thanks to Timehop, I came across the piece, and felt almost the same line of thinking as I had just over a year ago. I’ll start with Grey’s Anatomy – please observe:
“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.
“What’s important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning.”
What I gleaned most from my original post is the idea that, true peace can come from focusing on who you want to be rather than what you want to be (or do).
“I promise to lose weight”
“I vow to live more green.”
“I will spend less money.”
“I’m deleting Tinder immediately.”
We hear these New Year’s swears annually, and I have certainly experienced my own version of each of these over the past decade.
And like unfortunate clockwork, failure often runs parallel to New Year’s goals (including resolutions, declarations, hopes, and dreams).
And while failure certainly happens, 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.” Sharing a New Year’s resolution is a lot like sharing a secret. Some are big, and some super petty or exciting and fun. Either way, both should be engaged carefully and shared thoughtfully.
And more than that, each resolution should be respected fully.
I found some solidarity with my previous piece, and the desire to focus less on an exact, “what.” Instead, I vow to continue focusing on myself, and who I can be rather than what I might do. This has become a new challenge for me, and now a hope for all others.
Separate the two.
No resolution or 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 that matter most. While I support all those aiming to lose weight, swipe less, go green, and the list goes on and on, ultimately I am strongly advising you to focus on you this year.
The rest will then fall into place.
Be an unapologetic, “new you,” in this new year. Embrace life, embrace the best you you know you can and will be.
Send snail mail.
Eat the extra bowl of cereal.
Get on listservs that matter.
*I previously posted my own resolutions, which are captured here and above: