Can we just stop it with the failed resolutions already?
Let’s face it. No matter how many times experts tell us that New Year resolutions don’t usually work, we feel compelled to make them anyway. Perhaps we’re just conditioned to think that despite how the current year has gone, January 1st is a chance for a new, fresh beginning and maybe we can get it right in 2021.
Instead of me telling you again to skip the resolutions, what if we simply take a different approach? Instead of creating a whole new you for the new year, what if we just look at the same you? You as you are right now.
It’s been an unbelievably challenging year. But here you are! Still here! How’d you do that? How did you overcome or at least survive almost an entire year of gross uncertainty, economic instability, inconveniences on multiple fronts, job insecurity or loss, fear of catching a potentially deadly virus, for some a painful loss of loved ones, for many, downright frightening upheaval and for more, at least some degree of isolation and loneliness. Wow.
What if instead of looking at our flaws to fix in 2021, we instead take stock of our strengths? Why not focus on those as our new year resolutions, with self-compassion, gratitude and pride? Why not build on those strengths if you’re looking for something to change?
I don’t know about you, but I really struggled for months with everything going remote, with not seeing my family, with boredom and isolation and loneliness , with losing my routine and with controlling my need to control my circumstances.
But all of these struggles are really part of being human and I made it through. I’m guessing many of you did, too. So, what does that mean? It means we’re strong! It means we’re robust. We’re durable. It may not have felt like it day-to-day, but look at the last ten months and you can see that we’re survivors for sure. We’re more than just survivors though. We’re thrivers. We’ve got Chutzpa. We’ve made it through a miserable year fairly intact and that is pretty amazing!
Nelson Mandela said, “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
When did you fall down this past year? You got back up and now can consider if that’s an area where you want to grow further.
Many of us experienced health challenges other than Covid 19 in 2020, because there just wasn’t enough strife going on evidently. I know for me, it was definitely related to the increased stress and the sudden and dramatic reduction in movement, so I can focus on the fact that excellent health is normally one of my strengths. What adjustments do I need to make to get back to that?
You may have been challenged career-wise or economically during 2020. But if you were great at your job or financially stable pre-pandemic, those are strengths that you still have. What might you start tweaking now to recover or even excel? Whatever area of your life that you may have struggled with during this pandemic, remember that we were thrown into what can only be described as chaos and it’s only natural that certain areas of our lives suffered from the 2020 fall-out.
We’re all in different spaces right now, but what we have in common is the knowledge that if we made it through this year, we’ve got whatever it takes to make repairs or even changes to those life aspects to move them to where we want them. Whether right now you’re just surviving or full-on thriving, we’ve made it to the end of this shocking year and if we can do that, what can’t we do?
If we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to making new year resolutions, let’s start with our unbelievable strengths and fortitude. We still have a challenging road ahead, but let’s resolve to strengthen our existing strengths that have gotten us this far. Adaptability, resilience, determination, patience, empathy, love, common sense, gut instincts, generosity and gratitude. How about more open-mindedness as new opportunities that we couldn’t even have imaged become available? Forget dropping 10 pounds or going to the gym 5 times a week. We don’t need those kinds of resolutions now. We need resolve to gather our strengths and put them to good use in shifting us into a life of purpose and meaning and joy.
Make a list. How great are you and in what areas? Why not become even greater in those areas? That seems like a much better idea than choosing a difficult new year’s resolution that will probably fail by February. And since we’re focusing on strengths we already possess, perhaps we could approach our growth with a sense of fun and enjoy the process. Couldn’t we all use a little more of that these days?
“On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.” - Gregory Williams
I like that. Let’s start sailing!
Be well, wear your mask and remember to be mindful. Have a beautiful holiday and whatever you’re celebrating, remember to look for the joy and gratitude in it.