Dating back to ancient Babylonia, humans have manipulated the start of a new year to their psychological advantage; promising improved behavior in exchange for good fortune.
Except, Babylonians celebrated the New Year in the springtime; offering to make good on all of their debts in order to secure a bountiful farming season. Today, we’re more likely to publicly profess our intentions to properly ‘snatch’ our waists, possibly read a few more books, and improve our spending habits just a tad.
This modern approach to New Years Resolutions has incited its own cannibalistic mockery. Some of us jokingly remark ‘New Year, New Me’ in the event of a single healthy lunch decision, others criticize the health club newbies (rude), and the rest abandon resolution-writing altogether as some brand of virtue signaling (sad). #impeachthat
In her recent Netflix special, Michelle Wolf jokes that individual blogs are the product of conversations that no one else will have with you. First of all, boom-roasted. Second of all, she’s not wrong. So, I’ll get to the point.
New Years resolutions don’t have to be grandiose, pretentious, or insincere. The concept of a ‘new year’ may allow you to abandon some residual shame or embarrassment that may be clouding your ability to move forward in your journey of personal growth. This release may be all you need. Or, maybe you’re particularly motivated to work towards a specific goal or two.
Each January marks the dark, dull, and bitter-cold birth of a new year full of potential. Whether you’re looking to kiss 2019’s sorry ass goodbye, dive head-first into the next solar revolution, or party like a Gatsby on NYE – you’ve got to employ some method to your madness.
Goal writing requires more effort than we often lend credit. They should be equal parts realistic, measurable, and purposeful. Targeting qualifying goals can be overwhelming and ultimately defeating.
In these cases, it can be enlightening to ask the following questions: What should I stop doing? What should I keep doing? What should I start doing?
While this approach might reveal my black-belt in corporate-speak, it’s also where we get to the secret sauce.
Continue reading for some New Years resolution brainstorming that won’t make you stick a pencil in your eye.
In the new year, STOP:
Ruminating. There is a difference between obsessing and problem-solving. Don’t subject yourself to an endless loop of pain or sadness for things outside of your control. If you didn’t create it, you can’t fix it.
Seeking affirmation of worth. Don’t set the locus of your worth inside another. Only create art for expression, and not for the approval of others.
Taking others’ disrespect personal. Others’ behavior is their own responsibility, and ultimately a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Don’t let it ruin your day (or week, or month, or year!).
Making excuses for blatantly hateful behavior. When people show you who they really are, believe them. Certain transgressions may be technically forgivable, but may ultimately signal that you are not properly appreciated.
Apologizing for inherent, unique qualities. Being in touch with your emotions is a gift, not a curse. You allow others to tap into theirs, and your subsequent understanding and support changes lives. Embrace these qualities and never apologize for feeling so deeply.
In the new year, KEEP:
Being hilarious. Nuff said.
Being a little ‘extra’. Continue to buy thoughtful gifts, share genuine compliments, wear glitter, and sport thigh-high boots – especially when none of these things are expected. Produce special playlists for any event. Celebrate another day above ground however you see fit.
Looking on the bright side. Continue to assume the best of others. Practice deep listening and sincere understanding. Appreciate the silver lining in every bittersweet moment.
Being lighthearted and easily excited. Continue to squeal in excitement over all things Christmas. Sing along to all the greatest Jazz hits. Laugh a little too loud. Alarm others with gasps of ‘Oh My God!’ when The Weeknd publishes new content.
Adventuring alone and with close friends. Continue to trust your instincts and empower yourself to experience the world and all the beauty it offers. Mark more items off of the ol’ bucketlist. Challenge the concept of what you deem to be possible.
In the new year, START:
Practicing mindfulness. With less time spent ruminating, practice relishing the moment. Experience sight, sound, and taste more intimately. Listen deeply while others are talking.
Cherishing time with loved ones. Set the phone down. Appreciate all of the unique qualities, behaviors, and insights your loved ones share with you. There is no one else just like them. Ask thoughtful questions and remember the answers.
Implementing healthy boundaries. Determine what boundaries are necessary to maintain the healthiest mindsets and routines. Make your expectations clear and do not allow them to be manipulated.
Recognizing that I am worthy – just as I am. Your worth does not have to be proven. Your existence doesn’t have to be justified. The right people won’t make you feel insignificant or unimportant.
Eating a vegetable or two, once or twice a week. Maybe.
This approach to goal-writing reminds us that we need to direct attention to our present state. Instead of focusing on new beginnings, we need to assess our current behaviors and habits and determine what is/isn’t working. Only after evaluating those constructs may we determine the path forward.
For the first time in years, I’m not running from a past version of me. I’ve got a feeling that the woman I became this year is adequately equipped for whatever comes next. While there are a few specific improvements I have in mind, I’m wholly content with a ‘New Year, Same Me’. I wish the same relief for all of us.
More importantly, I’ve got the celebratory tunes:
A playlist for NYE – celebrating a decade of prime booty-popping music.
A playlist for the morning after. Because, who says romance is dead?
“Destiny is something that we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental.”Sleepless in Seattle. 1993.