Why I’m not doing resolutions this year… and some interesting alternatives

Every year most of us approach the New Year as an opportunity to jump-start our lives, or at least our vision for our lives.  Resolutions are one of the most popular ways to renew our sense of purpose.

This year I’m not doing them.

Instead, I’ve been experimenting with cultivating the right daily and weekly habits.  Increasingly I have been feeling that resolutions, while giving us focus, have too much of a duality: you either achieve them or you don’t.  On the other hand, improving daily habits will provide you with a richer life both personally and professionally. Annie Dillard got it right when she said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”.

In this spirit, I offer three alternatives on what to focus on in 2019:

  1. Build in (and schedule on your calendar!) reflection periods throughout the year – either on your own or with close friends.  This is time devoted to reflecting on where you are and reflecting on how you want to course-correct.  This makes personal growth an ongoing effort, with smaller steps.
  2. Instead of a to-do list (which is, in essence, a list of goals), focus on a “not to do” list – what is it you want to let go of?  What do you want to clean out of your life? Leave behind?  View the new year as an emotional or mental house-cleaning time.
  3. Accept yourself the way you are!  (i.e don’t make a resolution this year).  Use the time to just be comfortable with yourself – warts and all.  Not only will this save you from the stress of the never-ending “fixing” yourself treadmill. Can you imagine how immensely satisfying the feeling of just sitting with “right now, I am enough” could be?

Whatever you choose to do – reflection, resolution, acceptance or nothing at all – growth happens in many ways and phases.  Here’s to all of us growing in 2019!

All the best,

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