We all look forward to this time of year: It’s without a doubt the most influential of all seasons, an ultimate “blank page” upon January’s arrival. It’s something we reflect upon, prepare for, accept with enthusiasm no matter what triumphs or tribulations transpired in the past. We either ache for a fresh start, grasp at it in an attempt to fully be removed from the demolition and physical, mental, or emotional destruction that crumbles in the rearview, or we sprint toward the New Year with an optimistic “You’ve got big shoes to fill, 2018!”
Regardless of whether or not prior years leave more scars or laugh lines, we approach each January 1st with a will to be better than we were before. We resolve- to do more. Live better. Work harder. It is in our nature to aspire, to set ourselves up for success- in life, in love, in the pursuit of happiness. We make goals. We give ourselves reasonable timelines- 365 day action plans. We set milestones, celebrate the strides we’ve made and examine our roadblocks. Sometimes, we persevere and succeed. Other times, we give up.
Confession: I’m a New Years-oholic. January One trumps Thanksgiving and Christmas for me: My bank account isn’t depleted, my jeans aren’t too tight, my scale isn’t taunting me and my family and friends don’t dictate my plans. I essentially get to make a list- one of my favorite activities– about how to be the best version of myself, press a pen to paper- another one of my favorite activities– and draft my personal blueprint. I love that.
I have seen many other like-minded individuals proclaim their resolutions to the world in the last 48 hours. I’ve “liked” sneaker snaps, sweaty selfies, salad platings, Whole 30 meal plans, quotes that combat addiction, promote self-love, etc. It truly is an incredible phenomenon to witness, such an overwhelming, positive wave of fresh air.
I breathe it all in tonight, before exhaling deeply.
A resolution, by Webster’s standards, can be defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” For years, my lists have been more of a compilation of goals rather than rigid commitments. Truthfully, I like the “check off” methodology. One and done.
Need to work harder? Ask for more projects.
Need to lose weight? Set a weekly workout goal.
Want to see the world? Book a big trip.
By the end of each year, I can pat myself on the back for completing about 80 percent of my goals. All unfulfilled hopes and dreams get restructured and reformatted, added to the next year’s list.
But here is the truth: I am 30 years old and I am pretty settled. So many big, beautiful goals, I am grateful to say, have been crossed off my list. I have married the love of my life and we have a mortgage. Two dogs. A pushpin map above our bed pays tribute to our love for travel. My job is fulfilling, and I am confident in the fact that I worked hard for my current role. I have swam in both the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans, have ziplined over Costa Rican rainforests and have sprinted across the lush terrain at Stonehenge. I have a savings account. I’ve lost and gained 5 pounds, over and over again. I learned how to do a fishtail braid. (Yes, that was in fact a 2017 goal.)
Some aspects of my life could be better, and other aspects are actually quite lovely. I therefore have been thinking about how I can do more than scratch the surface of each goal I cross off. I am married, yes, but what do I do to invest in my marriage? I make goals to read more and write more often, but what steps do I take to actively pursue my passions? I love my work, but do I crave it? What do I crave?
I took out my letterboard earlier and started playing around with words- I was having trouble organizing my thoughts so I used the topic at hand to come up with a series of favorite sentiments. This is what I came up with.
And suddenly, I had clarity.
I am going to stick to just one resolution this year: I resolve to invest in the things that bring me happiness, deepen my connection with myself and those around me. I resolve to do more than “scratch the surface:” It’s time to chase the things that promise raw, genuine balance and joy. For right now, I am going to leave it at that. No need for sub-lists, (I’m silencing the little voice inside my head that pleads otherwise) no need for elaborations at this time. I want this year to be about elaborations in itself. I’m ready to elevate my quality of life.
In 2018, I resolve to add depth to my everyday, create my own superb, intricately detailed blueprint.
Won’t you come along for the journey?