Because I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions I made mine in November. That makes sense right? Right.
In November I went on a leadership retreat as a part of my MBA program. It was a weekend filled with soul-searching, strength finding and self-exploration. Aside from an identity crisis I was also left with a lengthy “to do” list which at first did little but exponentially increase my anxiety.
This my friends is why I hate New Year’s resolutions. They just leave you disappointed. You feel obligated to make these lofty promises to yourself that you have no real intention or ability even to uphold. So when you inevitably fail to stick with your plans to transform life as you know it, you’re left feeling worse than before. You find yourself reaching to that pint of ice-cream hidden in the back of the freezer, rip open a bag of potato chips, pop a bottle of red wine, curl up on the couch and watch “The Notebook” for the 100th time (I may or may not be speaking from personal experience…). That’s a healthy alternative right? I think not.
So why do we do it? Good question. I think it’s not only healthy but essential that we regularly set goals for ourselves and do our best to keep them. The key is having goals that are attainable and truly value adding. So while it would be amazing to say that I will wake up at 5:30 am 5 times a week and go for a nice morning run, there’s no way in hell that would last more than a week and during that week I would probably lose my job and my boyfriend due to sleep deprivation and inevitable hostility.
Upon my return from the leadership retreat, I reevaluated and altered my “to do” list a bit and found upon further consideration that maybe it wasn’t so bad. I decided I was going to give it a try under one condition. I was not to beat myself up if I failed to complete all or any of the tasks as well or as often as I anticipated.
My to do list:
1. Take more yoga classes
2. Eat healthier/ cook more often
3. Write more, about anything, as often as I can
4. Take more pictures
5. Get a new job
Turns out I’ve been pretty successful. Well maybe not successful, but I haven’t failed. I’ve taken a few yoga classes, I’ve been cooking a lot of nutritious and delicious (?) meals for Sebastiaan and myself, I took a small hiatus from writing around the holidays but have picked it up again and it feels great. I’ve taken a lot more pictures but would still like to do even more of that. But # 5… Well… That needs some serious attention but let’s not focus on that one, ok?
The reason why I was able to accomplish most of my “November resolutions” is because they included things that make me happy but I haven’t given myself time to enjoy. There’s a reason I didn’t choose “go on a diet” or “stop eating cookies.” It’s because I hate diets and I love cookies so what kind of start to the New Year (well or December) would that make? A pretty miserable one if you ask me.
The bottom line is. I’ve decided to focus on things that make my life happier, healthier and all together more enjoyable. Turns out these are the type of resolutions I should have made all along.
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” – Max Ehrmann, an excerpt from Desiderata