The No Resolution New Year

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Can we talk honestly about the last year?  To put it mildly, last year was a lot and 2021 is gearing up to look a lot like its younger sister 2020.  That’s why I am here today to encourage you to just give yourself a pass on any resolutions for this year.

I remember growing up that many of my friends would ask me as each new year approached what my resolution was for the coming year.  It would always cause me a bit of anxiety because the whole resolution thing wasn’t a large focus in my household. To me, New Year’s Day mainly meant that I had to smell sauerkraut and pork all day long and begrudgingly eat it at dinner for “good luck”.  As I grew into adulthood, the pressure for a big resolution to start on New Year’s Day only seemed to grow. I found that I began to feel as if I was starting the year in the red because coming up with a word for the year or a big resolution that would transform me into a better version of myself didn’t come naturally to me. As someone who is very goal-oriented, I would find this extremely unnerving and as time crept toward that new calendar year, I’d find myself searching for that perfect resolution as if it was some big project everyone else had finished and I just couldn’t figure out how to complete.  Inevitably, I would find myself blurting out whatever the trendy resolution of the year happened to be, and then a month or so into the new calendar year I would find myself filled with frustration. I couldn’t understand why I; a hard-working, driven, and successful individual could find it so impossibly hard to choose and follow through with this extremely important (and life bettering!) New Year’s Resolution task.

After too many years of this cycle, I have completely canceled my membership with the New Year’s Resolution Club. It’s just not my thing.  New Year’s Resolutions have always felt a bit like an all or nothing declaration to me and it just overwhelms me (I get that’s not true for everyone or their specific situation). I do better when I set goals for myself that don’t require an all or nothing approach, and in a scope and sequence that allows me to find success in doing so.  For example, my oldest child is almost ten and that has meant for almost a decade now January, February, and even March have been extremely difficult times for me to consistently go to the gym because of ALL. THE. GERMS. that come with kids and winter as well as the overall chaos of gyms at the starting in January. I would find I either couldn’t go to the gym because one or more of my kids was feeling unwell or I didn’t want to risk another round of a sick kid (and another day of making sub plans). Or, even more frustrating, was showing up at the gym to find that the gym daycare was full, every treadmill had a wait, or a class was so packed that I couldn’t do it. So, when I’d hear comments regarding New Year’s fitness resolutions like “no excuses” and “never miss a day” I felt like I was the weak link falling short on my resolution to be completely committed to fitness. Over time I realized if I offered myself a bit of grace in those winter months and started to focus on achieving my goals in March then I had better weather to allow me to get outside, my kids were generally healthier, the gyms were less crowded, and everything worked together to allow me to more easily find success.   

Obviously, in 2020, we had no idea what the year would bring but with the start of 2021, we know that it’s going to be a rough start. Whether you are a big fan of the New Year’s Resolution, a frequent member, or a non-member like me please remember that just like 2020, in 2021 normal rules DO. NOT. APPLY. It’s ok to not make some grand resolution this year. It’s ok to feel as though survival is enough or to set less ambitious goals for yourself than you normally would. The past months have brought unimaginable circumstances and immeasurable additional stress on all of us, and for some of us the best resolution we can give ourselves this year is to not make one. It’s ok to choose the grueling sweat session one day, the glass of wine and a TV veg session another, and a nap during your kid’s nap on yet another day. For me, 2020 taught me the importance of offering myself more grace, flexibility, and contentment with who I am, and I’m going to try my hardest to continue that into 2021. That means not making a big, grand, and time-consuming New Year’s Resolution and if that helps you feel less anxious about entering 2021, you’re always welcome to join me in the No Resolution Club. Membership is always open! 

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