New Year’s Resolutions of Joy
January 4, 2022
When did New Year’s resolutions become battering rams for the soul?
It’s like January is Impossible Standard month. The culturally mandated time to create truly epic to-do lists with 15 massive lifestyle and behavioral changes that require hours of daily effort and the immediate acquisition of a bunch of new life skills.
“This year, I will eat only gourmet meals that I lovingly and painstakingly make myself from scratch three times a day while training for my first marathon that I will run in the high heels I’ve never learned to walk in while writing applications for my dream job that I’m starting college to be in contention for and learning how to do my makeup to make my nose look smaller and lose 200 pounds so that I weigh -30 pounds and dissolve into seafoam like the Little Mermaid!”
It feels like we’re setting ourselves up to fail.
Now, before we launch properly into this tirade/ manifesto, we want to be clear that we’re not knocking the setting of goals for health and new habits.
Sara made a resolution at the beginning of 2020 to practice Spanish for 5 minutes daily, and she’s still doing it. Her unbroken Duolingo streak stands as proof, and when her long-delayed trip to Spain finally takes place, she will be ordering food in restaurants with great flair and discussing the weather like a pro!
Brittany is, after much resisting, eliminating dairy completely from her life for at least two months. She is wildly lactose intolerant, and suspects at least some of her health concerns are connected to this fact, but has gone actual years doing next to nothing about it (except suffering.) She’s excited to see if this decreases general bodily catastrophes….
But ugh, did you know that even canned tomato soup has dairy in it?
The beginning of the new year is a liminal time, bursting with possibility. There’s nothing wrong – and a lot right – with a culturally sanctioned time to take stock of our lives and to reflect on where we are and what we hope for the future. That can be a force for positive change, for growth.
What we don’t like is how the start of the New Year has turned into a time when we focus on our perceived inadequacies and failures.
When we beat ourselves up over our bodies and vow that this year, we’ll finally stick with this crash diet/ lose X number of pounds/ drop X number of dress sizes/ become someone completely and utterly different from who we currently are.
When we feel bad about all that we haven’t yet accomplished – how we’re not where we thought we were “supposed to be” with this project or that goal.
When we feel guilty about not having hit some cultural milestone yet and promise that this is the year we’ll find “the one,” “get married,” “get promoted,” “have kids,” in order to be seen as a True Adult Human.
What if our New Year’s resolutions weren’t about pain or how we think we’re falling short?
What if they were about joy?
Here are some New Year’s resolutions we can really get behind:
- Burning the sparkly candle you got for Christmas instead of leaving it in your drawer for a special occasion.
- Deciding that every day is, in fact, a special occasion.
- Eating at least one thing every day that you think is insanely delicious.
- Reading a book that makes you happy.
- Dancing whenever the opportunity presents itself.
- Wearing your fancy perfume even when you’re staying home and in your pjs.
- Buying the most comfortable pjs in the world.
- Finding a way to be your own hero(ine) at least once a week.
- Spending more time talking to people who make you happy.
- Saying something really nice about yourself to your reflection at least once a day.
What would you add to this list? Reply in the comments and let us know!