Tired of making New Year’s Resolutions, only to have them go bust within a matter of weeks? It’s not a personal thing, it happens to most of us–in fact, U.S. News & World Reports notes that by the time February rolls around, more than 80% of Americans have broken their resolutions. Given how goal-directed and accomplished most of us are, I find this statistic surprising. What is it about resolutions that creates this tendency?
When I explore my own resolutions and listen to those of my loved ones, I notice that hidden within the push for a new and improved version of ourselves is a rejection of who we are. It’s a message that we are simply not good enough the way we are now, but once we lose those few pounds, or balance that budget, or stop yelling at the kids, then we will finally be happy. Looking to improve our lives is valuable, but doing so from a place of “not good enough” is akin to building a house on a marsh. It’ll sink.
Year after year, we’ve shown ourselves that creating resolutions from a place of not feeling good about ourselves doesn’t work. What if we set our 2018 resolutions from a place of celebration, not deprivation? A celebration of you and what you are and what you already have in your life. From a feeling of being complete and whole, just as you are now, rather than trading out the current you with some promised better version sometime in the future.
How do you know that you’ve landed on a resolution that comes from celebrating you, that is a Celebration Resolution? You’ll feel more buoyant, more energy around the goal. A Celebration Resolution proclaims an unabashed YES to you, YES you are enough, YES exactly as you are in this moment. Rather than continually moving the finish line down the road, a CR says you are here now, and embracing the present moment with purpose and gusto is worth your attention. Though a CR could include goals for improvement, it does so from a place of respecting and honoring yourself at this moment.
What might some of these resolutions look like? I have a close friend who made a resolution to eat more anchovies during the year. Another who resolved to beat out the meter maid by not underpaying the parking meter. My personal resolution for 2018? To laugh more. Doesn’t mean things will be funnier, just means that I’ll do my best to bring along a light-hearted perspective as much as possible. God knows we could use more levity right now, so this one is right on target for me.
If you’re accepting the Celebration Resolution challenge, here are a couple of guideposts. First, do your best to avoid quantifying it–in other words, don’t say it must be completed every day, or once a week, etc. Those types of parameters pull us out of nourishing our souls and move us into that straightjacket of criticizing ourselves for not living up to some number. Second, notice how you feel when you propose a resolution to yourself; if it feels riddled with anxiety, or simply feels heavy, skip it. Instead, ask yourself what would bring more peace, or lightness, or joy into your life? Be generous with yourself. You’ve been through a lot in 2017. In this sometimes harsh world, wouldn’t it make sense to be more gentle with ourselves as we journey this life? Doing so allows us to radiate that kindness out to others, and that in turn, enriches the connection with the entire community of all living beings. Here’s to ringing in 2018 by supporting you and your heart at the highest level. Happy New Year.