New Year’s Eve.
This day has as many rituals, traditions, and memories attached to it as most any other holiday only it seems that usually these memories and traditions tend to be less healthy and wholesome. Dressing up for what you promise yourself won’t be like “last year” as you head out to meet your friends, drinking obscene amounts of alcohol until midnight finally rolls around, kissing the One you love (or an attractive stranger at the bar or house party you’ve landed at because it’s New Year’s and you’re supposed to kiss someone), waking up at some point and promising yourself you’ll never do that again while also resolving to fix all the problems in your life once and for all:
- I will bullet journal every day tracking my calories, my water, my bowel movements, the weather, and adding a layer to my mood mandala each day as well!
- I will go to the gym everyday, limit my carb intake to 30 grams or less per meal, increase my protein, never drink a soft drink again or any bottled juices with high fructose corn syrup, only have a dessert once a week as a reward, and decrease my body fat from 22% to 11% in time for swimsuit season.
- I will read real books from the New York Times best sellers list about real topics and not just read Facebook or leave the books in a stack on my nightstand until I give them away or look up someone else’s summary of them so I can pretend to everyone that I read them.
- I will act my wage and will never make another stupid financial decision again!
- I will become the perfect husband/wife, mother/father, son/daughter, friend/partner in crime!
- And I will cure cancer and solve world hunger!
Yeah. Sure. You do all that.
I know. I’ve done roughly all that at some point. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t! I appreciate that people look introspectively and purposefully at their lives every year on this day to find areas that could be improved upon. It’s admirable to be able to be honest enough with oneself to be able to own shortcomings, truly, but the truth is that real change doesn’t come just from owning those areas in need of improvement, it comes from purposeful action, reasonable expectations, goal setting (and meeting), and following through on thought out plans.
Making real and lasting changes to your life doesn’t come without a cost:
It is painful.
It is difficult.
And making changes to one area of life invariably results in changes made to other areas, each of which with their own painful difficulties.
In the past I’ve made well intentioned resolutions that I didn’t achieve, just like anyone else, and then I’ve bemoaned my lack of success and beaten myself up for failing, just like everyone else. The failing on resolutions is such a common experience I think that in our society we EXPECT to fail at improving ourselves:
I’ve had ample opportunity in the last 8 months to contemplate my life and what needs to change for me to be the person I want to be and in the place I want to be. Those who are close to me know I’ve been mindfully working toward multiple goals for months, planning, revamping and redoing my planning when necessary, meticulously taking steps one at a time rather than trying to fast forward to the end, allowing myself to exist in the painful portions of this journey knowing they won’t last forever and knowing that skipping them will only hurt me more, and facing difficulties as they arise because I know this is what it takes to survive and to succeed.
I’ve failed in making lasting changes at points, but this year is different and only because I have chosen to address my goals mindfully. And before I stay up late waiting to sing Auld Lang Sine at midnight as I vow to leave the past I’m ridding myself of in the old year, I’m going to take time to myself. Maybe it’s a function of where I am in my life at the moment and a reflection of the joy and clarity I get from writing, but when I read New Year’s Eve Ritual by Simon Wood at To Cut a Story Short last night I found myself inspired to begin for myself a *new* New Year’s Eve tradition:
Beginning this New Year’s Eve 2017, I am going to write a letter to future me to be opened at some point (5 years? 10 years?) in the future. I may give myself a list of questions to answer each year and I’ll probably include my list of sensible resolutions, goal oriented and actionable resolutions of changes that will help me leave the past where it belongs and that will help me be and do what I need each year. No, I won’t enjoy the fruits of this labor for some time, but it will be a beautiful journey to enjoy at some point when I begin to open letters addressed to me to discover who I was before I became who I am.
I hope you all are able to find that which is the greatest good for you in this upcoming 2018. May you grow in all the right ways, find success, and may the doors to the right opportunities be opened to you so that you may live a life of happiness that is filled with love!