Unlike all my nostalgic friends who always say goodbye to the past with tears in their eyes, and hello to the new with fear and trepidation, I tend to embrace January 2nd with all the giddy euphoria of a first date. I’m a New Year junkie. This, however, is not to be confused with New Year’s Eve, which I always hated–in fact, part of my euphoria for the new year was partly due to the fact that NYE was over for at least another year.
I guess, when I think about it, the manner in which I throw myself into the new year is more or less part of my love addiction. “Onward! To the next bad relationship. And chop, chop!” I was always so willing to move on without much conscientiousness or time alone in between partners. The same can be said about the years. I dumped the old without so much as a polite goodbye and hurled myself forward in any and all directions save the one I just came from.
In fact, one of the most thrilling aspects of a new year was the New Year’s resolution. Like most, I too believed I would accomplish great feats within the new year. And so, my lists were a mile long. If I put it on my list, I was more likely to accomplish it. Right? Wrong. I’ve attached last year’s list of resolutions and my comments in parenthesis as to whether or not I accomplished them. You can see for yourself that I didn’t do so well.
- Complain less (Never happened)
- Quit coffee (Almost happened and then there was Paris & Amsterdam)
- Have a nice black and white photo op done of D and I (Never happened)
- Spend less (Never happened)
- Save more (Never happened)
- Spend less time on the computer (Never happened)
- Visit/attend/become a member of a zen buddhist retreat center (Never happened)
- Eat more raw foods (Never happened)
- Get to the bottom of my indigestion issues (this is something I worked on for an entire year with no measurable results)
- Sing more (Maybe)
- Yell less at my kids (oops…the opposite happened. But things have changed now that I am aware of ADD)
- Take the online business certification course with my brother (Never happened. I am now moving in another direction and want to do Integrative Nutrition)
- Figure out what to do about grad school (Never happened)
- Publish one of my short stories in a decent magazine (never happened. Gave up rewriting it).
- Maintain my sense of self (this has been a challenge)
- Relax (Never happened)
- Work harder (WHy did I put this on the list? It came true, so…)
- Write more (definitely happened with my Lovely Addict blog, but not my others)
- Find a cause and support it continuously (Never happened)
- Be more consistent with exercise (Never happened, in fact, got worse)
- Go camping/rock climbing/ hiking (Never happened)
- Go easy on the unsolicited advice (Never happened)
- Remain neutral (Never happened)
- Be more open-minded (Never happened)
- Be patient (OK, now we’re getting into trying to change my personal nature- good luck with this one) (Never happened!)
- Be positive (Maybe just a little)
- Judge less (Never happened)
- Let go (Never happened)
- Take risks (Amsterdam and Paris!)
- Be more ambitious (Working on this!)
- Worry less… (Never happened)
The reason may be that there’s simply too many resolutions on this list. Thirty-one resolutions are a bit overwhelming, unless you’re Bill Gates (who probably has this kind of check list every day).
The other problem is that most of these items on my list are vague. “Remain neutral.” Well, what the heck does that mean? How am I supposed to follow a resolution like that? Making resolutions that are clear and specific are easier to follow. “Save $3000 by December 2012,” is much clearer.
Also, if I had written down some sort of direction as to how I could achieve these goal and the time it might take to achieve them, I may have had better success. Instead, I set myself up for failure.
Lastly, a friend of a friend who is a life coach suggested New Year’s “themes” instead of resolutions. The Happiness Project describes a New Year’s theme as “one idea, often summarized in just one word, as an overarching theme for the entire year.” For example, if I go this route, my one word might be “Serve.” It’s humble. It fits in well with my goal to be better a better listener and a better salesperson (at work). And it embodies my own personal nature, which means it will be more pleasurable to accomplish.
Whatever you choose to resolve, accomplish, wish or summarize in one word, be patient with the process. A new year, I am now learning is like a new friend. The quicker the passion begins, the quicker the friendship fades. So, get to know Time slowly. There’s no rush. ANd when making resolutions, be specific. Keep your list manageable. Give yourself a strategy (direction to take and time to achieve your goal). And stick to it. Accomplishing goals, no matter how big or how small, feels good.
So….what are your resolutions or “themes” this New Year? What are your thoughts on moving forward into 2012?