Why New Years’ resolutions always fail…and what I’ll be doing instead.
I used to make new year’s resolutions every single year and they were pretty much always the same. Lose weight. Go to the gym. Save money. Spend more time with family. And every year I made *some* steps towards making these things happen, especially the trying to “lose weight” part – seemingly it was a higher priority than seeing family more (gross on my part!)
Every year, I would eventually give up or lose track or fail at these dreams of mine. Maybe I’m bad at pursuing goals, maybe my willpower is lacking, maybe I need to try to “manifest” things better. Or MAYBE they weren’t achievable goals in the first place and I was always doomed to fail and keep fucking writing the same list year after year. Maybe I didn’t even want to really make these life changes…I just thought I “should”?
I’ve figured out now that these resolutions of mine were based on a dislike of and frustration with myself, hence why they almost never come to fruition. The fact they started from the foundation that I wasn’t enough (good enough, thin enough, loving enough daughter/sister, proactive enough) always left me less sure of my own abilities and character. Because I felt I needed to change all these traits of mine and “failed” to do so on a yearly basis, I was incrementally building this lack of self-worth as time went on.
And yet January came around again and I STILL tried to amend all my perceived flaws. No bloody wonder I didn’t succeed! And even though I stopped writing these lists down in a pink, leather-bound diary at 18 years old – don’t think I wasn’t coming up with new restrictions/plans/routines to start in January throughout my 20s. From beginning another Kayla Itsines’ guide, giving up chocolate, to sober January – the root of the motivation was that something in my life was wrong, I needed to fix it (quickly, preferably), and I’ll for some reason start doing that at an arbitrary time at the beginning of the year…every year.
What’s that phrase about insanity meaning dong the same thing over and over again with no results?
So after years of this…I’ve decided now NEVER TO WRITE NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS AGAIN! I mean it, never.
If I want to grow, learn and develop (because that sounds fucking exciting and life affirming to me) then I’ll do it differently. I’ll set intentions NOW rather than waiting, they will be rooted in the belief that I’ve already grown, persevered and blossomed and can therefore do this again, and they will be positively structured. For me, this will go something like:
- Write down and describe (in exciting movie-like detail) the journey I’ve travelled on recently. Perhaps the past year or even the last few months; outline what I’ve learnt, what I’ve achieved (however small) and the great moments I’ve been lucky to experience. I won’t leave out the hard times, because these struggles are an integral part of life too and acknowledging the hardship/loss/failures I’ve endured will prove how strong I am.
- Write down some long-term, positive intentions for my life. What do I wanna look back on in future months, years, decades and see in my life? What are the values I want to keep holding on to, the positive experiences I want to remember, the wisdom I want to continue building in myself? This is affirming that I’m already on the right track and can continue to blossom into the woman I’m meant to be. I’m not talking big life achievements, career goals, what size house I want to own with how many kids…but character traits and experiences I want to continue to cultivate.
- If I feel necessary, maybe theres 1 or 2 positive actions I could write down and put into place in these last few weeks of December. Maybe there’s a course to sign up to, a great recipe to try, a friend to call, a piece of work I’d like to finish that’s been put off for weeks. Something to feed my soul, make me feel more free, more connected, laugh more. And I’ll probably try and do that this week before Xmas if I have time.
- Most importantly, I just won’t make any fucking ”resolutions” for January. Zero. Nada. I will enter the new year with minimal pressure hanging over me to make some or other huge life change, but will continue to trust my instinct and the journey I’m on. I’ll continue to do the things that feed my soul, have purpose and make me want get out of bed in the morning. I will be open and receptive to change, as is inevitable, but I won’t berate myself for it not happening as expected. But no more goals based on how society says I should be, just more space to breathe and be present. In that space I will have more opportunity to get to know myself deeper; to recognise my strengths AND show myself compassion for my shortcomings and failures.
This is an exciting prospect. I feel like it will help me to start 2019 with more peace and freedom, instead of more expectations and pressure. There’s less chance of self-inflicted disappointment and failure, but there’s still so much potential for being what I yearn to be…ME!