By the time you read this, it will be New Year’s Eve in New York City. If you are in a time zone ahead, it might even be 2018 – and, in that case, Happy New Year!
A new year signals change. Advertisers know this so you probably have already seen tons of ads about how you can start to change your body, mind, diet and just about anything else that you can be persuaded to purchase some kind of product or service to fix. And it’s certainly not a bad thing to capitalize on the fresh start a new year provides to do something positive.
This year, though, I’ve decided I’m anti-resolutions. In fact, turns out I’ve never actually been good at them. Outside of a couple of years where I took a photo a day for 365 days, I have never started doing anything in January that I actually stuck to all year long.
And that’s okay.
Instead, I have an anti-resolution: always be reflecting. What do I mean by that? It’s two fold.
1. Reflect on Why
Instead of lamenting what I am doing (or not doing), I’d rather spend my energy moving forward thinking about why I am doing something or why I’ve decided not to do something.
Perhaps the things I’m not doing just aren’t worth doing. In years past, I’ve spent so much time on endeavors that didn’t work simply because that’s what I was supposed to be doing. But who says? Outside of paying what you owe, there’s wiggle room when it comes to doing everything else.
Don’t like your job? Get a new job. Or maybe change the way you approach your job. Sounds cliche but you can either change the situation or change the way you react to the situation. And now the problem is more simple: pick one approach and run with it.
And as for the things I am doing, reflecting means understanding why those things add joy to my life. I appreciate my sleep greatly so waking up early does not bring me joy, except on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when my first order of business of the day is to take care of my body by training in a martial art.
It’s a social activity but it’s a selfish one — I want to get better at the art and make myself stronger. It’s okay to be selfish; it amounts to me putting on my gas mask before assisting someone else with theirs.
2. Reflect What I Want
In the world at large, there are so many values that — at a glance – don’t seem to really be very popular: philanthropy, mentorship, empathy and I could go on. In lieu of complaining about this, my thought is to simply be the example.
There’s a cheesy quote, likely printed on a mug somewhere, that says “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This is more or less what I mean. To put it in less lofty words: I aim to be the kind of person I’d want to meet.
For instance, I’m still working on being a better (and more consistent…) writer — and a more engaging story-teller in person — but I’m being patient. I’m being patient with myself in the same way I’d be patient with a friend or stranger who was trying to improve and asking me for help.
And being patient really feeds into giving myself time to explore why I want to do this but don’t always succeed so, as you can see, these points are very much related!
You’ll notice with my anti-resolution that there is no specific prescribed action. I’m not trying to lose the last five pounds anymore. In fact, I mentioned that to my husband today that this is the first year in I don’t know how long (that’s a lie: probably forever) that a number on the scale was not motivating me to do something in the new year.
And, I think that’s because I’ve reflected more and put things into perspective.
I’m probably the healthiest and strongest I’ve ever been. I’ve managed to be successful in one the greatest, but toughest, cities in the world. I have the expendable income to travel on occasion. I am truly fortunate to have a loving husband and great friends and family.
And even still, my life is not perfect. Nobody’s life is perfect (despite what @myspacetom on Instagram would have you believe). My life is more like a river; ebbs and flows and occasionally rippling but often returning to stillness. My anti-resolution is to be more aware of that stillness and appreciate when the stars align and I feel like I’m living the good life, whatever that happens to look like at that moment.