I used to make long lists of New Year’s resolutions:
- Everything broken that I would fix about myself.
- Everything wrong that I would perfect.
- Everything not good enough that I would make better.
A long list of new little failures as life, reality, time, and me being who I am caused one resolution after another to be broken.
Then I tried just making one resolution.
The end of the year was filled with pressure and anxiety – what ONE thing most needed to be improved? What ONE resolution could make this the year that I finally got it all right? And then of course, the new year started under a blanket of claustrophobic pressure – better not screw up the ONE thing!
I’ve done a lot of healing and growing since then, thankfully. I’m still me – I’m still not going to exercise every day, I’m still not always going to make healthy food choices, I’m still going to stay up too late, get mad at people I love, go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes… And you know what? Sometimes, I’m going to do those things on purpose, and own them, and not feel guilty about it in the slightest.
Last year I started a new tradition.
Instead of starting the year with a list of things to do better, I thought about ending the year focused on all the good things, all the right things already in my life. Ending the year as I mean to go on.
As the end of the year approached, I asked myself some questions:
- What is most important to me?
- If I never felt like I HAD to do something, what would I CHOOSE to do?
- What do I want from life?
- What helps me feel happy and fulfilled?
- Perhaps most importantly, how can I model for my kids self acceptance, grace, and being good enough rather than perfect?
Last New Years Eve I was travelling, and already staying with close friends. I spent the day and evening with my husband, my son, friends, and their kids. We played with the kids, spent time outside, played board games, I knit, we ate delicious food, and at about 11pm we spontaneously decided to do some quick yoga because we were all feeling stiff.
This year, of course, I’ve had many days that didn’t look (or feel) like that day did. Many, many times though, when I’m having a hard time, I’ve reflected on that day and it’s helped me re-center my focus on the joy, community, love, and peace that I want in my life.
As the new year approaches again, I’m once again thinking about last New Year’s Eve, and about once again spending the last day of the year with my time, energy, and spirit engaged as I mean to go on into 2019.