New Year Resolutions: I’ve Been Doing it Wrong

A word about New Year…goals…mantras…resolutions…intentions…manifestations…fill in whatever flavor you are using or boycotting this year.

I find it to be so much.  Some years I’ve done very little and other years my plans have been more complicated than The Reimann Hypothesis (see also: the worlds most unsolved math problem.  I googled it.  I don’t know these things). Well intentioned? Of course.  Planned out meticulously? Absolutely.  A few years ago, I started to realize how overwhelming it felt for me – like, can’t take a deep breath anxiety producing.  So, I let it go.  Sort of.  I didn’t do any of the things, but I still wasn’t immune to the guilt felt about ignoring the I-can-be-better-do-better-be-more-do-more bandwagon. I mean, are we even growing if we aren’t berating ourselves just a teeny bit every day (sarcasm)?!?

Recently, I did a quick little exercise on Instagram – maybe you saw it  – picking the first 4 words you see in a crossword puzzle as your mantras for 2023.  Here were my words: Connection.  Purpose.  Alignment.  Love.  Great, strong words.  (Also, if there was anyone who participated in this and got nervous about whether they would be able to see ANY words – yeah, same.)

What I became aware of as these words emerged was this: My plans and ideas and goals and mantras weren’t ever really about me or for me; they were about building a perception of me; they were about controlling how the world thought about me; they were about doing for everyone else.

My typical knee jerk reaction to these words used to be: How do I better connect with people?  How do I serve the world in a more consistent and tangible way?  How can I be more aligned at work, at home…in life?  How do I love others bigger and better and extra?

But on this day, my reaction was: Am I as connected as I could be with myself?  Can I relax deeper into the idea of not having a defined purpose? Am I as aligned as I want to be with what I value the most?  Am I loving myself well? 

What a difference.

The first set of questions brings my shoulders to my ears; it’s the perception of control where I have none; it’s a hustle.

The second set of questions makes me feel like I can breathe.

I still don’t know that I’ll subscribe to anything defined this year.  I may not have it in me to be that thoughtful, even with this revelation. But, maybe it is simpler than all of that, maybe it’s just paying attention to what feels easy (and doing more of that) and what feels stressful (and doing less of that). 

I offer you no instruction manual on this as there are stressors we cannot do less of and this is certainly a very personal, winding path.  These are just my ramble-y thoughts. 

In any case, I hope this is your best year yet; I hope it is full of joy and peace and ease.  But mostly, I hope it brings you closer to yourself.  More of me, more of you…that’s what I want all of the days.

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year.

Bring it on 2023.  Ready or not, here I come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *