In the last few days leading up to New Year’s Eve, the blogosphere has been filled with people sharing their resolutions for the coming year, and also several who proclaimed that they just didn’t feel they could bring themselves to set out resolutions for 2022, given what 2020 and 2021 had been like. Totally understandable. But there were also more posts than usual from people dissing the whole notion of even thinking about New Year’s resolutions. That New Year’s resolutions are not just bogus but bad for your self-esteem. And, personally, I think that’s too bad.
I get that making resolutions – or even to-do lists – aren’t for everyone. And I sure as heck get that most of us don’t stick to our resolutions, even after a few weeks. Just ask the owners of gyms, who are delighted to welcome new members on January 1 every year with the full expectation that the traffic in the gym probably won’t last long but the monthly membership fees will keep rolling in!
When I was young ( a young woman, that is), I used to make resolutions like ‘I will remember to give my kids their vitamin tablets every day’ and ‘I will gain 10 pounds’, neither of which ever came to fruition. Needless to say, after a few years of not paying attention (things like kids, cows, and work got in the way), my resolutions changed to things like ‘I will lose 10 pounds’. Funny, that didn’t take hold either. So, granted, for most of us, making New Year’s resolutions are more wishful thinking than reality.
But is reflection and some wishful thinking such a bad thing at year’s end? Surely, taking time for reflection is a good thing. And I would like to think that for most of us our New Year’s resolutions are not setting us up for failure. We’re not all that surprised or devastated if we don’t lose the weight we had hoped to shed or turned into a ripped version of our former flabby selves. And, for sure, a few of the most resolute resolution-makers do accomplish their new goals. So where precisely is the harm?
I happen to be an incurable resolution writer who’s not all that hard on herself. Setting goals helps me. For the past many years my resolutions have focused on running goals, writing goals, blogging goals, sometimes quilting goals, and making sure I stay connected to friends and family far and wide. For the most part my goals have just been being tweaked the past few years. However … a New Year’s Eve blog post at Hot Goddess, 3 ways to make your new year magical in midlife, gave me unexpected food for thought. After all, just because I’m undoubtedly past the midlife point, that doesn’t mean I can’t work at making my life even more magical than it already is!
Here are the Hot Goddess’s intriguing tips:
1. Learn something new.
Her example was learning to make bourbon, something I will readily admit I had never thought of! But it could be to learn a new language, or how to use a new piece of technology. It could be to learn some new recipes (not on my list, sorry), or learn a new sport or craft. I learn something new every term with my weekly philosophy group, and that’s kind of magical.
2. Try something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
I love this one. I have a pretty good track record in this area, but maybe not so much lately. I have to give this one some thought … and that, for me, is what New Year’s resolutions are all about, reflecting on what’s possible.
3. Do something you’re afraid of.
I wasn’t quite so convinced about this one. Her personal example was kayaking for several hours, knowing she couldn’t swim if the kayak were to upset (not at all uncommon with kayaks). While pondering possible scary scenarios I thought of George Bush, Sr. jumping out of a plane to celebrate his 90th birthday. That must fall in this category of being scary and magical. Fortunately, I’m not quite at 90 yet, so I have several years to consider that particular challenge. Bungie jumping would qualify as something I’m afraid of. Actually, holding a snake is something that’s scary to think about even as I type this, yet our grandkids have done that many times. Maybe that should be my resolution to satisfy #3. Or not. I’ll have to give this one some thought as well!
Regardless of whether Natalie’s tips for a magical life through 3 “simple” resolutions sound like your cup of tea, I know you will enjoy reading her post. Her illustrations alone are worth the visit, but so are her personal examples. Really worth the visit.
Happy New Year, one and all!
Image sources: Year change from forbes.com, cartoons from Pinterest