With the new year comes a lot of expectations. The expectation to set resolutions to “better” ourselves. I am a strong believer in being the best that we can possibly be. I also think that sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and the new year is a time when that cycle begins again. Every year we have a time in which we say I will eat better, I will go to the gym more, I will begin doing yoga every day for the next 365 days, I will be better. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to be “better” you are damn good enough. Setting goals is reasonable, being consistent is reasonable, pushing yourself is reasonable. What isn’t reasonable is the inner monologue that we have with ourselves in which we tell ourselves that we are not good enough, we are lesser, the inner monologue of self-berating that sets us back. So here are my suggestions on how to get through the New Year feeling good and keeping that feeling going.
My trick to not feeling bad about straying away from my resolutions is never making one. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to be the best that I can be, it means that I don’t give myself a time period to succeed or not succeed. The self-berating doesn’t occur at the beginning of the year, it begins when we feel we are running out of time of our goals. My mom always tells me to not get upset over artificial deadlines. It took me a while to figure out what she meant by that. Artificial deadlines are deadlines that we set for ourselves, there isn’t any real importance to them, we won’t lose our job, nobody will get hurt, our lives will not crumble. All that happens when we don’t meet our deadline is that we don’t meet our deadline. How do we combat that? We set a new deadline and continue moving forward. This is easier to do when we don’t put a big time period on it where there is a societal expectation to get something done. Even if there is not specified time for something to be done, like exercising three times a week, making it a resolution can be difficult. When the new year comes back around nobody likes to set the same resolution. This can cause a build-up of guilt. The trick is to just begin when you feel you would like to try something. If we stop setting giant goals at the same time every year the act of setting goals all year long helps to make it not so much as an event, but more of a regular part of your life.
Set a Different Kind of Resolution
Instead of setting goals that are about physical tasks, set goals for emotional tasks. Often, we get in the cycle of setting goals that are about our physical selves; losing 10 pounds, running a marathon, waking up at 6 every morning. Instead, set goals such as being kinder, showing your love, and living with gratitude. This won’t only make you feel great, it is contagious and will spread among everybody you interact with. If we focus on our inner selves it has the possibility of affecting our outer selves. If we take on our days with more love and happiness, we may find that we have more energy to finish tasks, or maybe waking up at 6 in the morning comes naturally. Putting a focus on our emotions is a lot easier said than done, especially while combating shorter day cycles and colder temperatures. The New Year comes right in the middle of a cold, dark winter for most of us and seasonal depression is no joke. When we add expectations on our physical selves, we aren’t helping our already compromised emotions. Setting a resolution that just says “get through season depression” is a fantastic resolution. Our resolutions don’t have to be extravagant! I know that I am going to face 2019 with more kindness and patience. It can be hard to share your resolutions when they are emotional like that, but nobody said you have to share. If you get asked about your resolution all you need to respond with is a smile and a simple “yes I have one”. Our emotions are much more important than we make them out to be sometimes, so consider taking an internal inventory as opposed to an external.
Resolutions can be stressful, and we all have enough stress in our lives, we should try to mitigate that stress instead of add more. It is great to set goals for ourselves whether they be physical or emotional, but if trying to reach that goal has extreme negative effects it is not worth it. It is okay if you don’t meet your goals within your artificial deadline, it is okay if you don’t set a specific goal at all. January 1st is a day just like any other, we start the 365 day countdown again because the Earth went around the sun one more time. It is a good time to reflect on the previous year and all that it had to offer, some years have more to offer than others but that is just the way it is. The New Year can be a big deal, or it can be just another day. That is up to you, you have the power to choose how you want it to be. If setting resolutions is your way of motivation then by all means go for it! If the resolution setting brings unwanted emotions, skip it this year, or every year. A few years ago my mom and I decided instead of setting goals we would set a daily affirmation that consisted of three words. You repeat the same three words everyday as a reminder of what you would like your year to look like. I invite you to join us, your words can be private or you can share them with everybody you know. My words for 2019 are:
Patient, Poised, Passionate