When You are Anti-Resolution, but Still Like Traditions
It’s that time of year again. The time we commit to all the things, but not actually do any of the things. Growing up, my family was not the resolution type. It just wasn’t something we did and I’m pretty sure my Mom called them dumb or a similar adjective. Don’t get me wrong. There was a time when I thought I would get fit at the flip of the page or share in the revelry of faux goals, but like most, I never followed through. I now realize the wisdom in my Mom’s perspective. Even still, I like the idea of setting goals and creating intentions for the new year, as I find satisfaction in clear beginnings and ends.
In 2017, I was going through a lot of really difficult stuff. I was struggling to find joy and feeling festive was at the dusty bottom of my emotional bucket. By this time, I had a strong contemplative practice and realized the power of journaling and writing, so I decided to channel that into an annual hand-written letter to myself. I would celebrate all the things I accomplished the prior year, even if it was only not committing a capital offense. I gave myself a loving pep talk of all the amazing things I would accomplish the next year. I treated this letter as a manifestation of the upcoming year and sealed an envelope with a “Do not open until December 31, XXXX,” written across the flap. I opened my first letter at the end of 2018 and it was so enlightening. This letter gave me all the things I thought I was missing. It gave me encouragement, hope and even a bit of swagger. More importantly, it reminded me that everything I needed was already inside of me. When I stopped telling myself the stories and hushed the inner critic (her name is Miranda, by the way), I metamorphosed into my best ally and cheerleader.
Starting in 2020 BP (Before Pandemic), I added the practice of listing out the things I was welcoming into the new year. Captioning beautiful scenes on Instagram, I began listing the things I was welcoming into the new year. My first list was very focused on my passions and things that bring me joy. Sprinkled in were areas I wanted to grow and heal. As the pandemic turned the world upside down, my priorities changed and my list became more introspective and deeply focused on healing. This year, the focus remains on healing and growth, but I’m adding something writer Alex Elle recommended. She talked about the things she is leaving behind. Letting go is a Herculean task for me, so her message was apropos and timely. As with anything in life, I’m reminded you need balance and cannot make space for new things, without getting rid of old things.
As for those letters, they continue to inspire me and I plan to continue that tradition the rest of my life. 2022 is ready to go…now if I could only find an envelope. Maybe that’s the first thing I will welcome into 2022. My hope for you is that in 2022 you will give yourself a break, be the most gentle you have ever been on yourself, and remember we are all barely making it some days. More than this, I hope your new year is filled with growth, abundance, and belly laughs until you pee. Here is what I plan to welcome and let go of for 2022.
What I am welcoming into 2022
- Love without expectations
- Compassion for myself and others
- Always, always, always more patience
- Being generous with my silence
- More play and more fun
- More writing and expressing my most authentic self
- Seeing people in all their humanity
- Using all of my available resources to help others
- More learning
- More emotional growth
- More vulnerability in my professional life
- Gratuitous kindness
What I am leaving behind in 2021
- Feeling guilty for other people’s feelings
- Saying sorry as a reflex response
- Worrying if other people like me or not
- Holding on to ideas that don’t serve me
- Telling myself untrue stories
- Negative self-talk
- Talking negatively about others
- Not recognizing the humanity and suffering in every other human
- Writing off the good things because of the less than ideal things
- The false belief I can control absolutely anything except my own reactions
- Fear of celebrating my own accomplishments
- Feeling I have to prove myself to anyone