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Just Say NO to New Year's Resolutions

It has been many years since I've made any New Year's resolutions. Resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something”. How can I possibly make FIRM decisions to do or be something for a whole year when I have no idea how the year is going to unfold? Seems kinda impossible to me. Shoot, most of the time I don't even know how the day is going to unfold! Kids will do that to you. For 18 years or more they will do that to you.

Now I hear you saying but, but, but I want to be a better person, I want to do this, this and this. Listen, there is no one more task oriented, goal driven than I am. I had long lists of things that needed to be done. My husband joked just before we were married that he would not be list-less once the nuptials were complete. Enter children a few years later. I had great ideas of what I was going to accomplish. My lists started making me incredibly unhappy. I would reach the end of the day and only one thing was crossed off – maybe two things or maybe none. I felt like a failure. I hadn't accomplished anything. Some days hubby would come home from work and ask how my day was. Sarcastically I would say I had stayed out of jail. That was not on my list of things to do but perhaps it was an accomplishment though I didn't recognize it at the time.

Thankfully my children were great teachers of being in the moment. I learned that if I only had one or two (small) things on my to-do-list that at the end of the day my sense of accomplishment and self worth were much more satisfactory. My children started to bring me a lot more joy. Isn't that what we are after? Does having a spotless house or a fitter, more slender body give us joy? Not if we are so stressed out in the process. Not if our expectations are such that we feel like failures when we don't meet them.

Enjoying a stroll in the woods.

This is not to say I don't make goals and plans for my personal and professional life. I still like to plan. Its in my genes. However, I prefer to take baby steps, biting off a day or a month at a time. No longer am I overwhelmed at looking at a whole year ahead. Will my house be spotless for the whole year? No but it likely will be clean for a day or two at a time. Will I be fitter at the end of the year than I am now? Maybe. Did I get out for a walk this week? No. Do I feel bad about it? No, because I know that I will get out and walk when I am able to. Do I have joy? Yes. Because my joy does not depend on what I have accomplished or not. It does not depend on making and keeping New Year's resolutions. It depends on accepting where I am at right now, enjoying who I am with right now even if its only myself. Having joy does not mean that sorrow or anger does not come our way at times. But by being able to have gratitude even in those moments that are less than ideal, we can simultaneously have joy. Yes, there is always something to be grateful for even if you have to look deeply for it.

So my wish for you is a joyful New Year.

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