New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work for Me, So I Do This, Instead

I spent a while thinking about why New Year’s resolutions make me feel TIRED, ANXIOUS, and OVERWHELMED, especially since I actually WANT to assess the past and set goals for my future. I am, after all, invested in my own mental health–for the sake of myself and everyone who enjoys the privilege of living with me (ha!)–and I also care deeply about this community and CONNECTION and the challenge of living authentically.

My trouble with resolutions isn’t that I’m still stuck in the dark ages of trying to lose weight or go to the gym–I know that way lies danger because I’ve attempted the same path year after year, and, even during the years I “achieved” a smaller body, I was dismantling my self-esteem, my longterm health, and my confidence in my body as resilient and lovely and already worth infinite love.

So I was kinda stumped at my viseral reaction to resolutions until I finally realized a) we don’t give ourselves enough credit for simple survival (and that is PLENTY as a goal), and, b) THE TIMING IS TERRIBLE.

When January 1st arrives, I am done, friends. D. O. N. E. DONE. I have just run the annual marathon from Back-to-School through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas including the mental and emotional loads that entails. And who crosses the finish line of a marathon to a cacophony of shouting about immediately evaluating it and setting solid plans in place for the next one? NOT ME is who. I am collapsed at that finish line with urine dribbling down my legs, knees bloody from falling, waiting for the paramedics to hook up my IV. It is TOO MUCH at exactly the WORST moment to demand my resolutions.

But I still have hopes and dreams and wants and needs that I want to turn into actionable goals.

So I invented a new way in tiny steps that works for me. It’s called “What I Want,” and there are three steps. I use super fancy 3×5 cards to write down:

1) what I want
2) what I can actually control about that thing I want
3) what I’m willing to do about it.

Then I post them where I can see them, on the wall above my desk.

I get to break resolutions into small bites and adjust the timing to what works for ME, and I thought I’d share in case it’s helpful for you, too.

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