The New Years Anti-Resolutions
Throwing out the old script and trying something new.
It doesn't take a lot of digging to figure out that the whole New Years resolution thing is a flawed system. Most people decide they're going to do things they've never even attempted before, go all in and start out really determined, then quickly burn out and abandon their efforts a few weeks later. That's just not how goal-setting works. You shouldn't be setting wildly unrealistic standards for yourself. If you have something you want to achieve, you have to work up to it. You have to take steps to get there. You have to be gentle with yourself as you navigate the process. All or nothing isn't the way to do it.
The other big issue I have with New Years resolutions is that they often center around changing something about us so that we'll "fit in" better. Go to the gym more to lose weight to get skinnier because society says skinny is best. Work longer hours to get promoted to make more money to seem more impressive. If you're going to make a resolution, it should be something that helps you feed your soul. That's what I think resolutions should be about. Finding ways to take care of yourself.
As midnight approached on New Years Eve, someone asked me if I had any New Years resolutions, and I sighed and said no. 2021 was exhausting and I wasn't sure yet what I wanted out of 2022 — besides peace. I knew I wanted to feel peace in my whole body as much as possible in the coming year. I didn't know yet what that looked like or how I'd get there, just that I absolutely wanted to try.
As January moves on, I've been thinking a lot about this year and what I want from it. 2021 was so heavy, and I've still carried some of that heaviness into this new year with me. I can't set goals that feel like too much. My body won't let me. My body just wants rest. Hopefully, though, the peace I'm searching for will help break up the heaviness. That's all I want.
So, instead of setting resolutions and lofty goals for myself this year, I have anti-resolutions instead. Things I'm not going to do. Stress I won't put myself through. Ways to help myself find peace during such a turbulent time. I've created a little guide for myself to get through this coming year, and hopefully, it'll help you too.
Don't try too hard
It's good to go after what we want in life — but when does it become too much? If you're basically killing yourself trying to achieve your goal, if you're working so hard you can't even breathe, maybe it's time to take a step back and stop trying so hard. Keep trying, but not at the expense of your health, both physical and mental. Take a break. Breathe. Keep trying, but take care of yourself, too. Go hard for a little while and then take another break. Give yourself permission not to try harder than you have the capacity for.
People will always say that in order to move up in life you have to go hard and be impressive, but you know what? Maybe I don't want to be impressive. Maybe I just want to be healthy and calm, rested and clear-headed. Go after your dreams, definitely — but please, don't lose yourself trying to get there.
Say no to loved ones
We like to talk a lot about saying yes. Saying yes to a new opportunity, taking a leap into the unknown, and so on and so forth. It can be great to say yes, but it can be just as great to say no. Knowing your own limits and when you're taking on too much is so important. Sometimes we don't have room for anything new, and the best thing we can do for ourselves is to just say no.
Saying no can be especially hard when it comes to family and friends, the people we hold so near and dear. We don't ever want to let those people down or disappoint them. Saying yes when we have nothing left to give, though, and then not being able to show up the way we want to is even more disappointing than just saying no to begin with. The people we care about the most shouldn't want us to give from an empty cup. Even if they may not understand in the moment, hopefully, they'll thank us later for saying no when we just didn't have the space to say yes.
Rest as much as needed
Our society is obsessed with being productive. "What did you do today" is our favorite question to ask each other, and we all expect the answers to be packed with activities. "I'm so busy," we all exclaim and wear it as a badge of honor as we struggle to catch our breath. We talk about resting like it's something to be earned. We say we're taking a break and then list all the reasons why that break is justified. The thing is, rest isn't a reward. Rest is just a part of life and we should do it as much we need to, no matter what we have or don't have going on.
This year, I'm going to let myself rest. I'm going to lie in bed at times when I could be doing something "productive." I'm going to close my eyes and feel the way that rest refuels me. I'm going to try to stop berating myself for not getting things done. I'm going to rest and rest and rest until I can feel the heaviness floating away. I'm going to prioritize rest whenever I can. I'm going to rest my mind and my body as much as possible, and hopefully, through all that rest, I'll find some peace.
Stop chasing wins and instead chase peace
In 2022, my goal is peace. I want to do things that make my soul happy. I want to feel comfortable in my body and my mind. I'm going to stop chasing things that bring me nothing but stress. I want to be successful, sure, but peace is success too, and I don't think we can find success in other areas of life without inner peace.
This year I'm going to take care of myself. It's the most important thing I'll ever do.