We’ve all heard the endless grumblings about New Year’s resolutions, the seemingly universal truths that people subscribe to every year at the end of December. From the belief that resolutions are useless because people won’t actually make a commitment, to the insistence that resolutions can be made at any point and shouldn’t be limited to the beginning of January, there are strong opinions on both sides. Given the dismissive nature that surrounds this time of year, people are often surprised to find out that New Year’s is my favorite holiday.
The truth is, I can very easily understand the tendency to reject celebrating an arbitrary beginning. Making a resolution just for the sake having something to write down in your new planner doesn’t seem worthwhile to me, and I’ve certainly set resolutions for myself in the middle of July because I needed a new goal to work toward. But even with these caveats, I really love this holiday. Because we’re all suddenly reflecting. Contemplating. Paying attention to ourselves in a way we don’t often allow.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the reminiscence of New Year’s, from the news stories that round up the most popular moments of the year, to the “memories” that pop up on Facebook compiling our posts that got the most attention. Being forced to reflect is almost inevitable, which makes it somewhat daunting. All of a sudden, along with the positive memories, we’re being reminded of the difficult times we have endured, moments we’ve spent a lot of time and energy working through or recovering from. No matter how much we would rather not relive these memories, I’ll argue that they are just as important as the positive ones. (I know that sounds like a load of garbage you would find stitched on a pillow, but stick with me.)
When we’re setting our intentions for the new year, it’s easy to resort to self-deprecation. We tell ourselves we’re going to eat better, exercise more, or dedicate more time to finishing a project. There are silent but powerful expectations that we have attached to these intentions. Punishments, even. You want to eat better, insinuating you haven’t been doing a good enough job. You want to exercise more, as if there’s been a dial that you’ve set too low and it’s time to crank it up. Honestly, I think we should be giving ourselves a little more credit. Remember all of those difficult memories you were reflecting on, and how you got through it all? Let’s celebrate that! You’ve made so many strides in the past year, more than you give yourself credit for. You’ve gotten through every single setback 2018 has thrown at you, so why not take that energy and use it as motivation for whatever waits for us in 2019?
2018 has been quite the ride for me. In fact, the past few years have been some of the most formative I’ve ever experienced in terms of self-discovery and exploration. And I’m certainly not done. But rather than set up a curated plan for how this extended period of discovery and exploration is going to play out, I’m keeping myself open to possibilities. This year, my resolution is to take things one day at a time. Again, we can go ahead and print that message on a pillow or trendy print to hang in your room, but that’s okay with me. I’m gonna lean into it.
Here’s the deal, pals. I obviously haven’t been writing blog posts as often as I used to, but I’m not going to make some big announcement about retiring from this platform. I’m also not promising to post more consistently in the upcoming year. I’m simply going to continue exploring different outlets. That’s what this blog started out as and that’s what it will continue to be: an outlet. Instead of taking the time right now to figure out which outlets I like best and how to better use them, I’ll be heading into 2019 with the intention of allowing myself to figure things out along the way. I’m excited to see where that leads.