Well, it’s Tuesday Evening Happy Hour, perhaps, rather than coffee. And a special Tuesday at that, the first day of 2019. Instead of waking up to write this morning, I woke up before the first sunrise of the year to join friends on an epic run that saw us summit Mt. Tamalpais in time to welcome the sun to 2019.
It was quite ugly, and the company was terrible.
This is the time of year we’re all inundated with “New Year, New You” promises and temptations. Go to the gym more. Drink less. Eat less sugar. Less social media, more luxurious hours to work on creative endeavors.
My 2019 is coincident with a new house and nearly two weeks of a strange schedule and working in fits and starts. There are many things I can’t wait to get back to, which sound an awful lot like resolutions: morning routine of meditate-write-run, work by 9:00am, connect with friends, less tv with J, less sugar/drinking/eating out, etc.
But I’ve also spent the past few days writing my reflections of the past year and looking ahead to the new year. Not in a must-be-a-better-person kind of way, but in a way that lets me ask, what did 2018 teach me? What was I able to accomplish? What sucked and how did I learn from that? What do I still want to do in 2019, and what new things have I learned that will let me move forward into the next year?
I always cringe at the “ten ways to keep your resolutions” kind of advice, because they invariably end with us blaming ourselves for having zero willpower.
We should go to the gym more, for example. But do we think about what our obstacles are and how we can make goals to overcome those obstacles? Do we admit that those obstacles might always be there, that on good days we can leap over them, and on days we’re tired and stressed and overworked and, well, living, that we’ll trip and fall and succumb? Do we give ourselves the tools to get back up? Do we even stop to think about that word “should” and the fact that it automatically links to guilt, which automatically amplifies all those critical voices in our heads telling us that we shouldn’t even bother because we’re a terrible person?
What if we turned that around? Admitted we’re human and start from there? Acknowledge and appreciate the imperfections that have let us survive on this planet for however many years we’ve been here, and identify those parts that are holding us back and those parts that have brought us success? What if we could be proud of our accomplishments, if we could take ownership of the successes of the past year, and feel empowered and in charge of where we take our life in 2019?
Then, it doesn’t become about the pounds lost or the closets organized. It becomes about creating our environments with wide open doors that allow success to waltz right into the room and settle in.
We all have goals we want to accomplish and outcomes we strive for. As with anything, though, if the process isn’t enjoyable, the outcome won’t be worth it.
If you have resolutions, that’s great, and I also urge you to think about what it will take to get there, what the arc of your life would look like on that journey. If that journey doesn’t make you buzz with excitement and feel like diving right in, no matter what day of the year it is, then I’d argue you haven’t found quite the right goal. Life’s too short not to focus on anything that doesn’t make us resonate with possibility, with hope.
I’d be remiss not to tell you that I used some fabulous prompts in my reflection and planning writing. Please follow Jennifer Louden (and you’ll also understand why I’m beyond excited to spend a week with her in Taos this spring!)