Coming up with new resolutions can feel overwhelming when you aren’t where you want to be with the last set. Here are some ways to help you take off the pressure and remember the purpose of it all.
I can’t remember the last time I actually stuck to my New Year’s resolutions. Oh wait, one year, I promised myself I wouldn’t pick at my hands, but then, during an adrenaline-filled Netflix crime show binge, my attempts went out the window along with my cuticles.
And this year is no different. It’s 2 weeks until we ring in 2023, and many of my to-do’s for 2022 remain very much works in progress. There’s no way I’m going to complete the first draft of my book by the year’s end, and it’s unlikely I’m going to start watching less TV, as I live for Hallmark’s holiday movie schedule — writing my book and reducing electronic distractions were my two top resolutions of 2022.
But as I sit here consuming my second peppermint mocha, all is not lost. The fact is it’s never too late to start doing something you know is good for you. Furthermore, while I may not have plowed through all of my intended goals, that certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t achieve anything.
There were things I did this past year that I didn’t even feel brave enough to put on my initial resolution list for 2022. I quit my job! I had a corporate job that came with lots of stability and benefits but was just draining me creatively and emotionally. It also kept me from doing what I really wanted to do, which was write and act. I never imagined I would be strong enough to step away from a job I liked but just didn’t love, but I did it. That’s pretty awesome if I do say. Be sure to remind yourself what you did accomplish this past year.
Sure, I can’t write a book in 2 weeks, well, unless I’m Stephen King. BUT I can write a page a day or even a paragraph a day. The hardest part, at least for me, is the enormity of the resolution. But when I look at it as little micro-resolutions within a larger one, it seems so much more manageable and fun. This is something I can bring with me well after January 1, and with this methodology, I might actually stick with it!
Who says you can’t revamp your resolutions last minute? Look at your list of resolutions. Maybe some of the resolutions you made for yourself are no longer that important to you. What’s important to you right now, in this minute, that you can do for yourself?
For example, I’m going to get up every single day and go for a 10-minute walk. My biggest regret about staying at my parents’ place on the water in New England is that I never get outside enough while I am here. I get distracted with two little kids to chase around and lots of holiday shopping to finish. So, for me, walking the neighborhood I grew up in on a crisp winter morning is my new goal.
My sister has been wanting to clean out her shed for the past 3 years and hasn’t done it. Enter Aunt Sarah. I’ve hired a babysitter for all our kids, and she and I will be spending the day tomorrow going through her shed/storage closet full of dozens of why-am-I-even-keeping-this-stuff bins. She’s thrilled, and I’m so glad to be doing something to help make her life easier.
Helping someone can be a good way to feel capable and energized to do something for yourself, too.
OK, one of my major resolutions for the past year was to take better care of my skin, and I was pretty good about that. But I also bought some devices, masks, and treatments, and most of them are unopened and 2 seconds away from being regifted. (Trust me, some still might be.)
But when I ask myself the reason I don’t use the little goodies I’ve gotten, the fact is I’m lazy and have not made it part of my daily routine. So, for the next 2 weeks, as I sit down with my sister to watch a cookie shop owner almost lose her family’s store to a huge developer in one of a dozen holiday movies, I am going to treat myself to some pampering. I brought all the stuff with me so we gals will have a spa day every night.
Self-care is a common resolution that sometimes falls by the wayside. Coming up with some fun, cozy self-care activities during the holidays can help you feel better and motivated to continue in the new year.
I feel there’s this unspoken rule to make sure all my resolutions are set in stone by the first of the year. But who says that has to be the case? The resolution police? I have a few resolutions that I know I want to make, but perhaps the others evolve over the course of the next few months. I want my resolutions to inspire me, and maybe I don’t quite know what that is yet, and that’s OK.
Don’t let the resolution timeline discourage you from your goals. Sometimes, we wait until January 1 to work toward a goal or tell ourselves we failed if we don’t accomplish it by the end of the year, but the truth is goals are always good for us, and it’s never too early or late to start.
The end of the year is both the happiest and saddest time for me. I often get a little uptick in my depression as I look back and take stock of what I have and haven’t accomplished in the past year. But then, as I celebrate with my family and friends, I feel so blessed and grateful for their unconditional support.
It can be tricky to navigate that balance. For me, reminding myself of the little steps I’ve taken in the past year helps me to assess how much I have truly grown. Much like my unfinished book, I am a work in progress. Making resolutions are a great way to keep yourself on track, but sometimes walking away from them completely in favor of a new goal can ultimately lead you to your very best resolution.
Medically reviewed on December 15, 2022
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