Friday, December 31, 2021

Friday Feature: I Resolve Not to Resolve


Are you a New Year's resolution-maker? I have to admit that I love my monthly goal-setting sessions. They keep me on track and help me to achieve things that matter to me.

But I also don't expect myself to be perfect. I know that I won't hit every mark, and that's okay. What I'm seeking is progress -- more time spent on things that matter, more time spent doing things I love, more time spent exploring all the things that fascinate me.

Another thing these sessions do is take the pressure off New Year's resolutions. January is just another month and, if I miss a goal one month, there's always the next month -- if the goal still matters, that is. I can't remember the last time I thought "new year, new me" because every month, I not only set new goals, but also celebrate the ones I reached.

According to Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, the whole "new year, new you" mentality is actually toxic. Instead, she favors radical self-acceptance -- loving yourself for who you already are, prizing mental health, and being fully present in where we are, rather than where we are going.

The past two years have certainly made mental health a priority -- or at least brought it to the forefront. Whether you're struggling with anxiety, "laziness," burnout, guilt, forgiveness or something else entirely, you're bound to find some words of wisdom in the NPR-curated "Life Kit for a Mental Health Reset." Typically, I choose one article to share here but after reading several in the life kit, I decided sharing just one was much too stingy; there's so much good information in here about anxiety (the good kind and the debilitating kind), mindfulness, and basically cutting ourselves some slack that it all warrants some perusing.

I know I won't step back from my goal setting in 2022, but that's not (entirely) because I'm driven. It's because it works for me. It helps me focus on what's important to me and I genuinely enjoy reviewing my progress through the lens of self-acceptance. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to revise my goals according to what's going on in my life, as I did in November and December, and to remind myself that I'm a work in progress. Taken in that spirit, my goal-setting sessions remind me of what I've done well, and that encourages me to keep going.

'Tis the season to set goals...or not. You be the judge. But, if I were to suggest one resolution for those who set them, it's to resolve to notice what we do right. That's the kind of resolution that helps us to keep going, even when everything around us feels wrong.

Happy New Year! May you appreciate all you have to offer.

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