New Year = New To-do
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Write a new to-do (or don’t) list of all your character flaws and decide that this is the year to overcome them. How about incorporating a single word or short phrase? The former tradition has been around for about 4,000 years since the Babylonians made an annual promise to the gods to worship the king and return any borrowed items, while the latter is a twentieth-century creation.
I do both. But as often as I make a resolution, I break it, if only temporarily. I’ll write every day! I promise. But life has a way of knocking you off-center; the time isn’t there because the dog threw up on the carpet, and it has to go to the cleaners while Fido heads across town to the vet for a pricey x-ray. Now it’s Friday, and nary a word is spelled.
Are you there God?
Similarly, I’ll choose a word, forget where I left the piece of paper (did I burn it to communicate with my own God?), and the behavior I’m trying to change slaps me in the face. Suddenly, I realize, “Oh, right. I wanted Clarity. I just didn’t know it stung so sharp.” I should have picked Win Lottery or something with less of an edge.
Every day, every second is a chance to pick up a new habit, drop an old one, or give yourself a break. So instead of thinking, “Well, I ate almost the whole box of chocolates, and now it’s stretchy pants and sneakers until I die,” you can dump out the remaining candy - you know, the fruit-filled horrors you only ingest when nothing remains - into the trash, grab an apple from the fruit bowl and take yourself on a rebalancing walk.
Inquire what motivated you to accomplish a feat as challenging as ingesting two layers of chocolates in a single sitting. Perhaps it’s not time to give up on yourself, but time to contact the Guinness Book of World Records. Reframing comes in mighty handy when dealing with the depression that “failure” brings.
Now is an excellent time to remember there is no such thing as failure as long as we keep trying. Tomorrow is another day to eat clean, address life on life’s terms, and find out where you fit in. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to create where you fit, how you show up, and all the tiny details we schedule ourselves ragged to avoid.
Who am I? Detail matters with existential questions. What is it that I love to do? Focus your time and energy on the items on this list. Who do I love to spend time with? These are the lucky folks as they share the journey with you. Stop for a moment a few times a year and ask these questions. The answer may change, and you can cross an item off your resolution to-do list as it no longer serves. It’s never too late to be the best version of yourself - another thing that changes as time passes.
This year, commit to remembering where you’re headed, reframe your mistakes as lessons, and, above all else, love and forgive yourself always. Two thousand twenty-four lies before us all. Be awesome every day, and look forward to meeting the person you have worked on creating by year’s end.