As the New Year approaches, potential New Year’s Resolutions are likely running through your head. Questions about their worth swirl through your brain and you wonder if the goal is good enough and if it will challenge you. Perhaps you feel as though your resolutions are too lofty; you’ve bitten off far more than you can chew. You’re thinking that inevitably – as proven by years’ past – you will succumb to this resolution. Life will undoubtedly get in the way and patterns and routines will continue their reign. Nothing new can be added this year. Or any year. But yet still, you set yourself up for failure.
I know this feeling and I know it well. It is how every single New Year’s Resolution has ended for me. This “let down” is precisely why I have since decided to tie my New Year’s Resolutions to my daily mantras instead of create an unlikely goal that is difficult – if not impossible – to meet. My resolutions will be daily reminders of who I am and what I seek to become.
Where I am headed and how I am going to get there. Who I will touch along the way and what I can leave them with. This feels more tangible. It feels like it’s worth doing and like it’s achievable. It feels like real life.
Knowing myself, I will still make resolutions that are slightly unobtainable. Like going to the gym at 5:30 am three times a week and eating more iceberg and romaine lettuce. I will even continue to make lists about house projects, errands to run and things I need to do before I’m 40. And on a REALLY good day (or bad day – depending on how you look at it), I will likely rewrite those lists in a prettier font on a prettier piece of paper. I will continue to be hard on myself and I will continue to raise the bar to unlikely heights (like drinking half my body weight in water every. single. day). I will make things resolute and I will pile on the unnecessary stuff. But then I will remember this: life is a work in progress with no end goal. So, the difference this year is that I am going to be firm in my beliefs that I will treat myself kindly when I fall short, and that my days will not be perfect and that THAT is what will make them perfectly fine for me.
Because who am I? I am a 38 year old mother of three children who is treading water with the best of them. I am sinking and then swimming all in the same day. I am working my tail off at being the best I can be and if that means I go to the gym once this week, I’ll take it.
What do I seek to become? I seek to be someone who lives life for many gains and a few losses. I want my children to see that life is worth exploring and living and that personal setbacks can actually strengthen your will and resiliency. I seek patience, courage and strength. I seek to eat more lettuce and become more healthy. As time allows.
Where am I headed? I do not know. But I do know that I should set goals that are attainable AND goals that force me to extend my reach. And while I extend my reach, I will be kind about how I measure success. The day that I turn 40 will be the day that I change my list to “Things I Need to Do Before I’m 50.”
How am I going to get there? By putting one step in front of the other. Even when the path veers and it feels like the road less traveled, I will steadily move forward. Take one step and drink one glass of water. Repeat.
Who I will touch along the way and what can I leave them with? In all sincerity, perhaps my most resounding resolution is to “pay it forward” in 2018. My goal is to go out of my way to do something that will make someone else smile every single day. My hope is that as I take the focus away from what I selfishly stand to gain, the rest of my resolutions will feel appropriately less important. My stance is that my sense of self and place in the world will be affirmed by reaching out to and touching others.
And I still get to cross something off the to-do list – a win for everyone.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?