Reframing New Years Resolutions
Is it safe to come out now? Has enough time passed from the intense holiday season, and the dreaded New Year resolution marketing campaigns to safely emerge once again? I sure hope so. I know it seems a bit silly to be writing a post about New Year’s Resolutions now that we are at the end of January, but if you’re anything like me, they just don’t stick.
Not only do my previous year’s resolutions not stick, but I’m also growing tired of the constant marketing that capitalizes on our drive or need to "be better,” or "do better," and the thousands of answers that will get you there if you were to only buy a $1000 dollar program guarantee. Not that all of these programs or solutions are bad or unhelpful, but believe me I’ve been there, lost more than money, and as a result, gained feelings of shame and guilt that I wasn’t doing more and succeeding. For example, while not really a resolution, I intended exercising more, and I’m already behind about 15 workouts this month. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! I already feel bad about this, but then there are the chocolate brownies and it's winter so ...
I’m also tired. I think the collective stress of the past few years, as well as my own personal stuff, has caught up with me. Add to that a dreary rainy winter here in Connecticut, and it’s not left much space for motivation and desire. According to the dictionary, resolutions are defined as: “a firm decision to do, or not to do something.” I really like this verbiage. Often, we all think of things that we need to add into our lives or obtain as our resolution, instead of thinking, what can I get rid of, let go of, or no longer do? With that, I’ve decided I’m giving up on the social pressure to change, to conform and to follow the hive mind mentality. Instead, I'm going to work on removing the shame and guilt I have allowed others to place upon me, the self-inflicted kind too. But where did that leave me in terms of resolutions? I had to take time to really reflect how I approached this concept, still tapping into the energy of the New Year, yet not being swallowed whole and losing myself in the process. I started to think about what worked, and what didn’t work, in my life last year. As a result, I came up with a list of things that culminated in just one simple resolution, which is “take care of me."
The following are some thoughts about how I’m trying to do just that:
1. I am introvert, so I naturally lean towards quiet spaces and solitude time. We've had plenty of practice with this during the pandemic, but even for me, it’s getting a bit old. I’ve had to continue to negotiate with myself what feels safe to do and how I can get back out into the world to enjoy its splendors, yet not sacrifice my need for quiet either. This led me to saying "yes" and "no” more often. Saying "yes" to things that scare me, that push me out of my comfort zone. Saying “yes” to pleasure, socialization and joy. While saying “no” to obligations, experiences, or people that throw me out of alignment with what feels right for myself.
2. Drinking more water. Another one that might sound silly, but I’m severely dehydrated, and my physical and emotional well-being depends on proper hydration. Starting my day with a large glass of water at room temperature and increasing my intake throughout the day, might have made me frequent the bathroom more often, but the brain-fog of the past year is at least starting to fade as I continue to nourish my body with this vital substance.
3. Eating well and cooking, as the price of food continues to skyrocket. Cooking at home can be a real act of devotion to yourself, as well as a saving grace for your wallet. For me, cooking is a stress relief, a creative time that brings me great joy. I can, however, get stuck in a rut and feel a bit blasé around my food. To remedy this, I’ve decided to unpack the hundreds of food reels I've saved on my Instagram and work to make one new recipe a week.
4. Speaking of Instagram and social media. I’m a doom-scroller. I wake up, and I check my phone. I’m bored, and I check my phone, I’m waiting on an order, I check my phone. I’m tired, I check my phone. I think you get the drift. I spend way too much time looking at ads, at perceived successes and the “living my best life” posts from influencers and friends that just put me in a depressive state. I know the matrix of the social media world is not real, but it can be very convincing. It’s a world that I do wish to engage in, but not let it consume my life. Luckily, I found a neat function on my iPhone (sorry Android users, I’m sure you have something similar, but I’m an Apple kind of guy), where you can set time limits for your apps.
I have my social media limited to 1 hour a day. It helps me stay focused and find what I need quicker and avoid the scrolling. It gives you a warning message that you're approaching the last 5 minutes of your allotted time and once your time is up, you get the option of leaving the app, adding 5 more minutes, or ignoring the time limit for the day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve totally hit that last button more times than I like to admit, but this function has helped me reduce the time I spend on social media significantly, and my mental health is much better for it too.
For me, these are all simple and attainable things, and I will continue to do them to help take care of me. They feel less intimidating, and less guilt-ridden if I don’t follow suit. Yet being able to follow these more, helps with my larger goals and motivations, and I hope it can inspire, lead or direct you to creating some little wins for yourself.
1/24/2023 12:50:20 pm
Love reading your newsletters!!!! I would just like to say that New Year’s resolutions are like diets. If you deprive yourself for 30 days to lose 10 pounds to fit in a dress, you’re gonna give it back. Just like you’re gonna feel shame if you don’t continue with your resolution… my cousin, who is a smart lady, taught me to forget resolutions, and dating or quitting this or that. But to make a change just for today and if you hit that last button and stay on social media, it’s OK. Tomorrow is another day and you can start over again. It took a lot of practice when she taught me that. But it’s hard to go cold turkey for a lot of things. You (we all) are talented and amazing! So what if today didn’t work out like it was supposed to, start again tomorrow:)
1/24/2023 07:24:32 pm
Resolutions are best made on the New Moon - ie lunar new year - rather than January 1st. So the timing of letting us know of a new kind of resolution you might be practicing is pretty perfect!
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