New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. I always begin the book group I facilitate with an icebreaker question — a way for the varied members gathered to get to know each other better, and a way for me to be reminded of everyone’s names — and this past week I asked after any New Year’s Resolutions. Not only did 90% of the group not have resolutions, they actively disdained the whole premise of resolutions.
Haters gonna hate/to each their own/different strokes for different folks/insert your chosen cliche here, and I stand firmly and excitedly by the premise of New Year’s Resolutions. Goal setting, in general, gives me a sense of order, the chance to self-examine — to reflect on where I am and where I want to be — and an opportunity for growth. Sure, January first is an arbitrary date for initiating goals and reflecting, but aren’t all holidays arbitrary dates for celebrating the things that matter to us (patriotism, gratitude, faith, love) and the things that make life fun (candy, autumn, warm weather)? And isn’t an arbitrary date better than no date at all? Having a set date ensures — for me, at least — that reviewing my life and making plans to improve it will happen at least annually.
Because I so enjoy the process of making New Year’s resolutions, and goal setting in general, I tend to make many resolutions. For the past few years, I have also picked a word as an overarching theme for the year. This year, I chose three words (all related) and each of my more concrete goals relates in some way to the words. The words are like the light at the beginning and the end of the tunnel, and my individual goals are like the path that stretches through the tunnel. The purpose of each individual goal is to help me reach the end, but the light at the end is also the light that propels me to move forward and illuminates the path.
This year, my words are perspective, prayerfulness and poise. I spent the afternoon journaling about the words to help me get a better sense of what they mean to me — how I hope they will frame my year, and what I hope they will guide me towards.
Do you have New Year’s Resolutions?