Changing How I Think About New Year’s Resolutions

As a lot of people do this time of year, I was thinking about resolutions. I don’t really believe in setting New Year’s resolutions. Usually, when I want to change something about myself, I just start when I think of it. I don’t necessarily think you have to wait for the calendar to turn to make a change.

Neon Sign That Says Change
Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about change at the beginning of a new year. I am a planner by heart and like everyone else, I like to think about what the next 365 days will bring. As a writer, usually it starts with words. But since I’m not a fortune teller, what those words will be are anyone’s guess.

Letting “Fate” Decide

This year, I pulled out the newspaper and circled the first words I saw: movement, everywhere, unique, and look. The words didn’t really do anything for me.

I still had to do all the work to make meaning out of them. But since I didn’t know what the upcoming year would bring, I couldn’t form them into anything cohesive.

Two caterpillar pupas
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Letting the Year Decide

Next, I thought about the upcoming year. There were a few things I knew were on the table. A trip in a few months to Laos and Cambodia that I was hoping would change my perception. Transformation and change for my mother who was thinking about possibly moving.

But beyond that, how could I know what the new year would bring? As the saying goes, we make plans and God laughs. Assigning words to a year that could turn out completely different than I planned seemed futile.

Losing Control

By now I was feeling frustrated. What was the point anyway? Why was I trying to come up with some sort of theme for the year again? And then it hit me: I couldn’t control what the new year would bring and I was a control freak.

I may say I don’t set resolutions, but the only reason I don’t is because I can’t wait to set resolutions. Every day I am making plans and setting the bar a little higher. I can turn even fun activities like walking the dog into a competition by challenging myself to walk faster or further.

Person with Coil in Front of them
Photo by Branislav Belko on Unsplash

If I read a book, I need to read it quickly so I can read more books. If I write I need to find people to read it. Always competing with yourself can take the joy out of your passions.

Learning to Relax Doesn’t Mean Letting Go

So my plan for the new year is to unwind a little bit. There is a tight coil inside of me that tells me I’m not doing enough. I’m going to work on loosening that spring a little bit so I remember to have more fun. That means writing more for the joy of it. Enjoying walks and yoga. Breathing more deeply. Reading for fun.

It sounds a little big like the start of competition, but I know if anybody can do it, I can.

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