No More New Year’s Resolutions
We all do it. We all dream of what we’d like to be better at in the new year, look better, feel better, stop doing, start doing, change, learn, grow…We make these resolutions, promises to ourselves, that we hope we follow through on and make habits of in 21 days.
But by January 22nd, there are a lot of new gym memberships and for those of us that workout year-round, we are happy it’s not so crowded once again. What is it that lures us to start a fresh page in a new planner, determine that this is the year that we will lose weight, decide that the habit we’ve never successfully stuck with before will happen this year? We all have the best intentions, but they never seem to stick and become lasting change. I think it’s time to ditch the New Year’s resolutions and try something new. I mean, it couldn’t hurt at this point, right? I would rather start the year with less pressure and more anticipation, start with doing what my heart is yearning for instead of doing what’s expected of me. I think we can do this in several different ways as we discover what will add to our life in the year ahead instead of just piling on another to-do list.
I am all about bucket lists, for towns and states and seasons, so what about a bucket list for you or your family? Think of all the things you’d like to see, do, and experience in this next year and add them to your list. They can be big or small, take a lot of planning or a little. Then you can cross off items throughout the year and feel good about the things you’ve experienced and memories you’ve created. If committing to a bucket list is too much for you, how about creating a list instead of all the things you are looking forward to in this next year? What movies and shows are coming out that you want to see? What books or authors will be publishing that you want to read in the year ahead? Any new local venues opening, workshops happening, or concerts coming your way? You can also add milestone birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and weddings to your look-forward-to list!
I love Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of an annual personal challenge. He picks one thing to learn or conquer or improve upon for the year. It can be as difficult as learning a new language or as simple as committing to reading a certain number of books in the year. I like that this idea makes us set goals through the year to stay on task with it, rather than just hopeful wishing that normal resolutions seem to foster. Similarly, a friend of mine picks a word for the year. They spend a lot of time learning about that word, digging into it’s meaning, looking for literary quotes or scripture regarding this word and just learning how this word and it’s meaning can impact their life. Having an annual focus automatically makes us think longer term and can have a deeper impact.
Taking on an annual project can impact us in much the same way. Doing something each day for 365 days can instill a deep sense of accomplishment and growth! You can read a chapter of a book every single night before going to sleep or take a photograph every single day. One year I wrote down things I was thankful for each day. This past year, I read one scripture verse and rewrote it as a prayer each day. My son gave me a notebook one year and told me to add one thing from nature to it each day. It was beautiful. It caused me to appreciate the little things and made me think of him. I have always wanted to draw better and more often, so this next year I am making it something I can accomplish by planning to sketch one small object each day in a notebook. It may be a leaf, my dog’s nose, or my coffee mug, but each day I will be taking a little time to draw and plan to post about it to keep me accountable to it.
It is a new year and instead of just dreaming big and hoping it’ll happen like most resolutions, I will be making a plan to learn, I will be consistent, and I will be open to growth. Sounds like a great way to enjoy the year ahead!