Why I’m Saying “No” to Resolutions this Year

I’ve spent the last week or two thinking about goals for the new year. Usually, I have a list of them ready to go for January 1st, but this year, I’ve had difficulty developing them.

I think I’ve faced this block for a variety of reasons, including the fact that 2020 was so off-the-wall and unpredictable. I couldn’t have begun to imagine on January 1, 2020 the twists that life would take later that year. What makes me think I can imagine what will occur in 2021?

With COVID overshadowing so much of our lives, I’ve reminded myself that 2020 had a positive impact on my life, as well. It’s important for me to recognize and acknowledge that some good changes did occur last year, even in the midst of so much heartache:

  • I got engaged to the love of my life
  • I transitioned to writing full-time
  • I grew closer with friends and family

In a mood of reflection, I spent some time journaling last night, hoping to gain clarity on what I wanted for 2021. What did I want to improve on? What did I need to change? Where did I want life to take me in the new year?

That’s when it dawned on me. By focusing so much on coming up with goals, resolutions, visions – however you wish to label them – I was automatically starting from a point of deficit-thinking. I was under the assumption that something needs to change.

I remembered a TEDx talk by Susan Henkels I listed to once, on the evening drive home from my old job.

What if there’s nothing wrong with you? she suggests. She doesn’t say there’s nothing wrong with you. She doesn’t say there is something wrong with you. She just asks that we let ourselves be open to the possibility that perhaps we are just fine at this moment.

Could I, for just a moment, consider the fact that maybe my career is on a positive trajectory? Perhaps my love life is in a wonderful and perfect place? Maybe I have caring and healthy relationships with people around me?

The fear of stagnancy in life is one that affects many of us, and I’ve always been frightened that standing in place means weakness, boredom, failure. For years, I’ve neglected to realize that you can stand in place but still grow your knowledge and your perspective.

Standing still provides the opportunity to look downward and truly understand where you are, where your roots have grown, what parts of your life are your sunshine and your rain. Standing still lets you look upward and see what’s left ahead, what you still have to hope for in the days going forward.

And too, in a time of stillness, you can allow yourself to be perfectly content standing on the ground where you are, to be in the moment you’re experiencing, and that feeling is as good as any goal on any list.

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