How To Make Unhurried New Year's Resolutions

How To Make Unhurried New Year's Resolutions

It's no secret that I have a fixation with the passage of time, and there's no day of the year where I feel more seen than New Year's Day. Everyone is fixated with time on this day, I'm not alone! We throw parties. We drink champagne. We countdown to midnight. And we make resolutions.

Oh, do we make resolutions.

We look at the year ahead with all those clean, as-of-yet-unlived days, and we imagine the future selves that we wish to become. We make public declarations. We compile lists. We whisper promises to ourselves.

This is year, we say.

But I'm here to challenge you to take a different approach this year. Instead of making resolutions focused on goals and accomplishments, I challenge you to do these things, instead:

Forget the goals, and focus on habits.

Goals are wonderful, I have nothing against them. But habits are where it's at. Habits create routines, and those goals you would be setting will only become realities if you engage in daily, weekly, and monthly routines that support them.

If you want to be healthier, identify the daily habits that will make that happen. If you want to write a novel, the only way to get there is to you develop the habit of sitting down and putting words on paper every day.

Accept yourself exactly as you are, right now.

Future you is exactly the same person as current you. Maybe you have some work you want to do on your behaviors or habits or thoughts, but you are wonderful exactly as you are. Practice radical acceptance of yourself, regardless of how many things you wish to change about your life this year. You are wonderful exactly as you are.

Be relentless when it comes to saying no.

The real secret to developing all those habits you wish to develop this year is saying no to every single thing that doesn't serve you. And I mean every. thing. I really like Warren Buffett's 5/25 rule for gaining clarity here, Google it. 

Repeat these mantras until you start living them:

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. - Mary Jean Irion

Imagine you woke up today and had only those things for which you were grateful yesterday.

Post these lines somewhere you will see them every day. Repeat them as needed--when you're feeling pressure to bend to cultural or peer pressure that doesn't serve you, when you're distracting yourself with idle scrolling and missing opportunities to be present in your own life, when you could use a reminder of how lucky you are to for every normal day you get to live that is unmarked by the significance that tragedy, trauma, and struggle bring.

If you must speak the language of resolutions this year, let your resolutions be these:

  • to develop habits that serve you
  • to practice radical self-acceptance
  • to say no to invasive distractions
  • and to relish in every simple, unremarkable day you get to experience this year.

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December 27, 2019 — Lori Oster