Happy New Year and What to do with the “Resolution”

I am scrolling along Facebook looking at all of the New Year’s related posts. Many. Many. Many people are happy to leave the previous year behind us. Some are looking forward to what the New Year brings. Some are reveling in inspiration and positivity. Some have a quip and a flippant meme or note about the Resolutionists taking over their gyms for a week. But, everyone is looking for a change. That is the natural progression of the year. We spend time planning and looking forward and then overscheduling which leads to being overwhelmed and completely burnt out. By the end of the year, a clean slate looks beautiful. It is appealing and motivating and we begin again.

But failure is so common and inherent in these annual promises that again we joke about how quickly these resolutions fail. Can you make it to the gym 4 days this week? Next week it was only three.

The week after your two year-old is puking…

and your husband has to work late…

and the homework has started again, and, and, and, and…

You’ll get back into the swing of things next week. Or, next month. Or the next Monday that is blue-skied and you don’t wake up with a crick in your neck and sciatica pains shooting down your leg.

Resolute or Reflective?

I propose that the New Year is not a time to become resolute but reflective. Don’t make well-meaning but likely empty promises to yourself, but take stock. Get out a pencil and paper or open a spreadsheet, take five minutes and think about what you have – the good and the bad. What are the things that are wholly yours, that you made happen, that you have responsibility for? This is your unique list. It should be a bit like rapid-fire questioning in that you don’t want to overthink the question just what immediately comes to mind in a five-minute brainstorming session. It’s likely that these are the ones you consider the most important or that you want to or feel you should spend time on or with. Then decide how you treated them.

  • Did you make them a priority?
  • Did you largely ignore it/them?
  • Did you take it/them for granted?

A great way to do this without overcomplicating it is to rate each one a number from 1 to 10.

The third part of this reflection would be ‘Can I do Better?’ This will help you focus on where you want to spend your energies. We all only have so much time we should be spending it on what is nearest and dearest to us.

So, the last question would be: “How?” “How can you make things better?” or maybe you’ve really knocked certain things out of the park this past year and it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back. This isn’t about guilt; that something that’s a three in your life isn’t a ten. It is about identifying that three and seeing what you want to and can do about it. Perhaps there is a relationship that is sitting at a 3 but you’ve given it your all. So, if you answer, “No, I can’t do better.” Then it’s time to let that rest in your mind and know you’ve done what you can and put that energy elsewhere.

Simple Efforts Give Simple Results

The problem with a simple resolution is it is just that. Simple. Things that require a lack of depth will likely receive that much effort in turn. Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose five pounds.” or “We’re going to church every Sunday!” take stock of why these things are important. Then, give something of value in your life the respect of time and thought to really work on what vision for your life you are trying to realize.

I hope you all have a wonderful year and that you take charge of the things in your life that you can control and stop wasting your energy and vitality on the things that you cannot.

Happy New Year!

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