Earlier this week, I asked the Facebook community to share their thoughts on New Year’s resolutions. Were they planning on making them, and if yes, what were their plans? The responses did not disappoint.
“No. When I identify something about my life that is compelling enough to inspire an effort to change it, I change it. I don’t identify a future date when I will begin that change.” –BC
“1:06.”* – VS
“Last year I chose to use a word or an idea that could encompass lots of areas of my life and I have to say it kind of worked!! I chose ‘dedication’. This year I’m not completely sure what my notion will be but it may be ‘dedication and………..’ ” JS
“I don’t make resolutions anymore; just a set up for failure #kiddingnotkidding” – AG
Last Dec 31st, I made 7 New Year’s resolutions. I can’t remember how or when exactly I chose my resolutions, but I wrote them on an iPhone note under the header, “2014.” Here’s what I wrote:
- Forgive. Forgive.
- Be more loving to my family. Call and write.
- Practice more yoga, mindfully. Meditate.
- Write more and get published 3 times.
- Run the SeaWheeze Half Marathon in 2 hours.
- Photograph more.
- Get better at Quickbooks and Excel.
Here we are, a year later:
1 & 2: work in progress. You can never forgive enough or love enough. I liked this resolution.
3: Success! IN 2014, I devoted myself to a regular yoga practice, and it showed. I’m ending the year stronger and able to balance poses I never thought I could (and with a larger collection of leggings). No handstand yet, but getting close.
4: Done! Getting published was great goal to have. For me, the writing part is enjoyable, but sharing my writing with someone and taking the risk of being told they don’t like it is not easy. In 2014, I learned that doing what you love and taking it to the next level always involves a bit of risk (to your ego). I wrote more personal, vulnerable stories for this blog, and readers responded with great kindness.
5: Almost. I don’t know the exact time of my SeaWheeze Half (see why here), but the race was a total blast and I learned a great deal about how important having a good attitude and being consistent can be. That’s worth a few extra minutes for sure.
6: Somewhat. I didn’t photograph more – my camera is still broken – but I was photographed by a photographer whose work I admire. Posing for someone who has photographed some of the most beautiful yogis taught me all sorts of lessons I needed to learn about letting go of my photographic ego (see here for that story). (Bonus: my husband ended up as a calendar cover model for said photographer).
7: Ummmm…no. Not even a little bit. This resolution goes in the “unreasonable goals because you don’t really want to achieve them” category. Who was I kidding when I said I would spend more time on Excel?
Six out of seven in 2014 –not too shabby. Here’s the secret to enjoying making resolutions: choose attainable things that inspire you. Ever since I learned to choose attainable things, I look forward to making New Year’s resolutions. When you make a resolution that is not realistic—like “I won’t get frustrated with my messy kids,” or “I will eat healthy food every day of 2015” – you set yourself up for failure. So my strategy for making – and loving – my resolutions is to make them attainable and to approach my resolutions with a spirit of curiosity, excitement and kindness.
When you consider your resolutions, look for things that energize you. Maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to do, like be a race car driver or an ice skater. While becoming a professional of either one of those is somewhat age and opportunity-restricted, very little keeps you from trying these activities on your own terms and seeing what you learn. You may not become a professional, but you will certainly be better at it than you were before. Maybe you spend too much on your phone, or you hardly ever make it to the gym. So rather than resolve to never use the phone at home or to make it to the gym 5 days per week, resolve to use your phone less (or for a set amount of time) and to get to the gym one or two times per week. Want to improve your diet? Resolve to eat one piece of fruit before every meal a few times a week. Want to lose weight? Start small, and once you meet that goal, re-evaluate and decide whether you’d like to lose more. The way I see it, something is always better than nothing, and big goals are achieved by accumulating little goals. Lastly, don’t be afraid to make a resolution because you may not be able to meet it – not taking a risk for fear of failure guarantees your failure.
So, without further ado, here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 (some revisited):
- Love more and forgive more. Give more of myself to the ones I love.
- Be more grateful for what I have.
- Be less reactive to negative people and events – don’t let others or event s out of my control dictate how I act.
- Parent without fear. Follow my inner voice—not peer pressure—when it comes to raising our daughters.
- Deepen my own yoga practice and give more to those I teach.
- Write more and without fear of judgment. Maybe there’s a novel in there somewhere.
- Repair my camera and become a better photographer.
- Spend less time on Facebook and Instagram (work in progress…any suggestions?)
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not? Do you prefer concrete or general goals?
Happy 2015 to you all!
* Race car drivers make resolutions in seconds.