Part 2 of reflecting on the year that has passed, and my hopes and wishes for what is to come in 2021. Here’s part 1 if you haven’t read it yet!
Moving into the New Year always gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we are and the topic of resolutions and what we will do in the next year becomes pushed to the forefront. There is pressure in our productivity and evaluation obsessed culture to set concrete measures of our achievement for the coming year also known as: New Years Resolutions.
To be honest, I’m not sure that I believe in New Years resolutions. In the past, I liked them and I would set-aside time to sit down and think very carefully about what my resolutions were and would even draw out a decorated list to place somewhere prominently in my house. I would get excited and energized and would be convinced that these resolutions would carry me through the coming year and lead to real growth.
Inevitably, I would lose said elegantly drawn list and I would forget what my resolutions were after about 2 weeks (those first 2-weeks though I would meet my goals…mostly).
And so, as the years have gone by I have questioned the purpose and use of New Years resolutions. I will preface this by saying: I don’t judge anyone who enjoys making New Years resolutions. If it works for you great, and maybe you are able to achieve them. However, even if you like them, I might encourage you to think about why you do it and how it helps you, or if it does at all.
I think where New Years resolutions go wrong is when they become a measure of success, achievement, or self-worth. A list of specific things that you are going to achieve, for example losing 20 lbs, eating 5 apples a week, or working out every day, that if you don’t achieve very precisely mean that you have somehow failed. If the resolutions were in fact achievable this could conceivably lead to beneficial changes, but there is a tendency even pressure, to set resolutions that are not realistic or sustainable and therefore not achievable. These kinds of resolutions often do more harm than good by making us feel badly about ourselves instead of empowering us.
Culturally there is a tendency toward negative goal setting, meaning goals that are set from places of insecurity or in an attempt to “fix failures” instead of goals that try to bolster our self-esteem and come from an improvement mindset. For example, instead of saying, “This year I want to continue to focus on my physical health and do things that result in feeling good in my body”, we often create resolutions more like, “This year I will lose 20 lbs”.
Even the word resolution has a strictness to it, go ahead google it. It describes an inflexible decision that doesn’t allow for the constant change that exists in life or human nature. These resolutions set us up for failure by so narrowly defining success.
In response to this you might be saying, “But if I don’t have specific goals, then how will I know if I have met them?”. I have 2 answers to this:
1. I think we need to be a little less hyper focused on achievement, productivity, and success overall. And therefore you shouldn’t worry so much about meeting every goal to an exactitude. (If you’d like to read more about this check out this post).
2. You can assess your progress by broader measures such as feelings of contentment, happiness, even feeling proud of yourself, to help decide if you have met your goal instead of exact measures like numbers. I think reflection is just as powerful a tool as precise measurement.
I do think there is a more positive side to resolutions that is worth exploring. It is simply to think about our broader goals and visions for our lives, even feelings that we want to cultivate in the year to come. I prefer to make resolutions, if you can call them that, which are less specific and more about redirecting the continual journey of living a life that makes me happy and fulfilled and contributes positively to the world around me. It’s more about acting intentionally than specific actions. This process involves reflection, introspection, visioning, and can include coming up with a multitude of ways these changes could be made. I also think framing things in “I want or hope…” terms, might also be better than “I will…”, because they allow for adaptability.
My Personal Resolutions
Keeping all of this in mind, here are some visions and hopes I have for my personal life in this next year:
- I want to feel more present.
- I want to have more feelings of peace and rest, and allow myself the space to let go of unfair self-imposed expectations.
- I want to feel more free to experiment and dream big, to let go of the reigns and just see where life takes me.
- I want to maintain healthy boundaries with work and in my relationships.
- I want to continue to pursue an authentic fully-realized version of myself.
- I want deepen my connections with those I care for.
- To continue to focus on feeling well mentally and physically.
- Continuing to seek more profound spiritual experiences, diving more deeply into my faith.
What is coming up for HBLogs in 2021?
When it comes to career and business, there is even more pressure to have concrete goals for the New Year. Things like: get to (insert number here) subscribers, write X many articles etc. But I don’t want my career and business to come down to numbers, although numbers can help us assess whether others are enjoying our content, it can also create so much stress that we lose sight of why we started creating in the first place. This year, I don’t want to focus too much on the numbers, as at times I did this past year.
I want to dig deeper into why I made HBLogs which was to share my experiences in trying to find a better way to live, one that not only makes me happy, but leads to a more profound sense of fulfillment, and contributes to a more ethical world for everyone. And by sharing these thoughts and experiences, to help others live a life that works to better their mental and physical wellbeing and leads to a more fulfilled existence. I want to contribute to a world where we don’t just move through life but live it and live it well in all senses of the word.
A little more specifically, I also want to have more space for creativity, particularly creative writing and art, to accompany and further express my reflections on life. As part of this I will be launching a lot of new content and projects in the new year and I can’t wait to share them with all of you and to see what you think of them!
I have so many dreams and wishes for where I want to see this blog go. Certainly more than I can fit into one year. My biggest hope and goal is to continue to foster growth in this community and space, and being open to what form and direction that might take.
Wherever you are I’m wishing you a Happy New Year from the bottom of my heart. We did it, we made it through to the other side of 2020! As I said to my colleagues on the last day of work, “We made it to the finish line!”.
I hope the energy and promise of the new year gives you even just a sprinkle of rejuvenation and maybe even some healing from the hardships of this past year. I for one can’t wait to see where it takes us, and no matter what, it’s sure to be an adventure.