With the dawn of the new year comes the time where everyone talks about their resolutions. And I see a lot of negativity about resolutions because 1) many people will combine them with the phrase “new year, new me,” and 2) resolutions are often broken. I want to talk about each of these, and then talk about my own resolutions.
The phrase, “new year, new me,” while well-intentioned, can also be problematic. It inherently defines people as quickly changeable, and outlines when exactly this change takes place. And I find this problematic because one of the things I think is most important to remember when coming out is that you are the same person you were before, and as likely to change gradually as before, others just know more about who you are now. When someone comes out to you, it’s not that they’ve changed, it’s that the amount of information they have shared with you about themself has changed. Just because the year has changed, doesn’t mean that you’ve necessarily changed in some fundamental way. And I understand the point is to strive toward change to make a “new me,” which brings me to my next point.
Resolutions are often broken, and I don’t mean this to be disparaging. Sometimes, we aim too high too quickly. I think a great way to make sure you stick to your resolutions is to start by setting smaller goals. As great as it is to make a huge change, things don’t happen overnight. They take time and work. Smaller steps can help make this more manageable because you’ll have a bunch of little accomplishments along the way, which can help make it more encouraging to work toward your goals.
For me, there are three things I’m focusing on right now. One of them is to do little things to help myself get to a better, more focused place mentally. It’s been a strange and crazy past few years, and I feel this is important for me to start making more of an effort to do because I think mental health is extremely important and should not be overlooked. One of the things I’m doing, which is also another one of the things I’m focusing on right now, is to make sure I have positive messages to go to when I need them. Whenever I think of a positive reminder, I write it on a small piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in a jar on my desk. If I ever need them, or if anyone else ever needs them, I know they’re there, waiting to encourage someone to keep going. If anyone’s curious, the most recent thing I’ve added to my jar is: “Some risks are worth taking.” Another thing I’m focusing on right now is my breathing. I consider breathing highly important. Focusing on my breathing, especially in times of high tension and stress, helps me to calm down and keep myself in more of a place of control, rather than letting that tension and that stress get the best of me. Doing these things helps me to be more mindful of myself and understand what gets me into certain states of mind, if anything specific does at all.
There are little things we can all do to make everyday changes in our lives. While they may not lead to us drastically changing right away, these little things can add up and lead to gradual change. Let us know some things you hope to accomplish this year.
Great post. It’s interesting to think about all the connotations of this collective “story” people participate in about being better where the gym being crowded in January has become a cliche. It still seems like most resolutions are about having better habits or being more physically healthy and aren’t really about being a different person.
I used to love New Years resolutions and posted about it in my blog last year.
One year I wrote things down I wanted to let go of and put them in a box with other peoples and then burned them all together in a bowl.
This year I resolved to not make any resolutions. I picked 2 words for the year: Abundance and Silence. I wrote a list of ways I wanted to be kinder and more thoughtful but did not frame it like turning over a new leaf or reinventing myself.
I decided to stop practicing yoga at home 6-7 times a week and instead just do it when I feel like it which seems to be 3-4 days a week!
It’s a whole other topic to think about what is “self care” versus feeling forced to do healthy things!
The gym being crowded in January has definitely become a cliche. I wonder when “new year, new me” became tied to resolutions, habits, and the idea of being physically healthy.
I’m both curious about and interested in your choosing two words. If I may, what about those words stood out to you to make you choose them?
I feel like, for me at least, feeling like I have to do something makes it feel almost bad or wrong in a way. But when I want to do it, it’s the opposite; it feels like it’s right and like I’m supposed to be doing it. I hope more people view self care as right rather than wrong.