I have never been one to love and embrace resolutions. I'm more of the, "Que será, será" type. But then again, that does not take much guts.
I have never been one to love and embrace resolutions. I'm more of the, "Que sera, sera" type. Resolutions are hard work, after all. What if I don't succeed in my goals and grow discouraged? And didn't 2020 remind me how helpless I am when it comes to being in control? I even struggle to write this letter because what if, by telling everyone, I jinx it? It is much easier to succumb to the fear of failure than to dream of the possibilities.
On the flip side, if I do not plan my life, if I give in to this fear, then outside circumstances will plan it for me. And I will likely look back one day with regrets. I may wonder what could have been. I may think, if only younger me would have done ___. So this morning, (when I was able to write '21 in my journal for the first time, hello!) I took the impossibly hard, first step of writing down my dreams and resolutions for you.
I read once that we are to center goals around values, so every goal I write is based off a value. They are in no particular order.
Value #1 Learning
Goal: Begin Grad School.
It has been a desire of mine to be a licensed counselor for some time, but I wasted time wondering if I had what it took and I grew overwhelmed at the thought of returning to school. I wanted to help people and knew I needed more education, so I finally applied to two graduate schools at the beginning of 2020. I didn't get accepted to one, and I never heard back from the other. I felt defeated, having busted my butt to take the Graduate Readiness Exam (GRE) on time to apply, but my husband encouraged me not to give up on my dream. It wasn't until months later that I finally applied to another CACREP program for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. On December 11, 2020, I got accepted! This January, I will get to be a student again and apply what I am learning at my job.
2020 taught me how to be resilient in the face of adversity, and I'm carrying this lesson to school. If I can make it through 2020, I can make it through grad school.
Value #2 Self Care
Goals: Journal at least 2x a week, take one day of rest each week, and exercise 3x week.
2020 helped me realize that I compensate for my anxiety with busyness. It taught me that slowing down can be one of the healthiest forms of self-care. Journaling helps me slow down. It has helped my anxiety since I was a kid. (Sidenote: Back then I was one of those cool kids with a password journal. Weird flex, I know). As I help others, I am resolving to be intentional about caring for myself. There is no right or wrong way to journal, so I give myself freedom to write as little or as much as I want. I usually write about my worries and what I hope to happen. Sometimes I jot down how I am feeling about a new life update. Along with journaling, since I'll be grinding in graduate school, I promise myself to spend one day a week relaxing. Exercise is also important to me for self-care.
Game Plan: To habit stack brushing my teeth at night with journaling. Set 1 day aside for rest by putting it in my calendar as "SELF CARE DAY." Work out with my husband so we can motivate one another.
Value #3 Selflessness
Goal: Serve another person daily.
In 2020, I was forced to lean on others. When my husband and I had CoviD-19, my family brought us groceries and someone even gave us a care basket. I think they both understood that a fulfilling life is not centered solely around ourselves. The pandemic was not survivable alone. It was a team effort. I have observed that the most selfish people tend to be the least happy. I think the secret to being content is having an others-focused mindset. So, I am resolving to do one kind thing to serve another person each day. Whether that is taking the dog out so that my husband does not have to, letting someone with less items go ahead of me at the store, or being a listening ear to a friend who really needs it. It is possible to have self-care and be selfless, you just need proper boundaries.
Game Plan: Being married is a sure way for me to be accountable to this. I also spend time with middle and high school students every week and the other people I serve with would notice if I was gone.
Value #4 Being Present
Goal: Limit Screen Time
Like many well-intentioned phone addicts, I set a limit for screen time this year of 30 minutes a day. However, I'm embarrassed to admit that I far exceeded those limits every week by hitting that "15 more minutes" button. And that the biggest perpetuator was social media. It was my way of escaping the reality of 2020 and curbing the boredom of being at home. This year, I want to take my life back by actually abiding by that 30-minute daily screen time. I don't care if I have an impressive social media account, I want an impressive and robust life.
Game Plan: To leave my phone in another room once I have reached my screen limit for the day and to replace screen time with reading a book. Not being able to see my phone will help me forget about it, and the obstacle of getting up to find it will curb my appetite.
As one final resolution, I choose progress over perfection. So, 2021, as I all-too-happily welcome you, I am leaving most of 2020 behind. But I am taking some things with me. I am bringing the resilience I gained, the lessons I learned, the friendships I made, and the acceptance letter from my graduate school. Not only am I bringing these things with me but I am resolving to build upon them. I am resolving to increase my knowledge, to take care of myself, to serve others, to be present, and to always choose progress over perfection. The best is yet to come.