The new year is upon us, and that means it’s resolution time!
There are a couple ways people go about creating resolutions. Resolutions can be based on fashion, on role models, or even on movies. There are even specific new year’s resolutions for students. You could make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely), or shoot for the moon and hope to land in the clouds.
Me? I’m going to take a different tack.
In the last few weeks, as I’ve started to think about the past year, the things I faced and overcame, and those I’m still struggling with, a theme started to emerge. I’ve been living my life in fast-forward, trying to get to the next thing, then the next, and in the meantime, I’ve let a few things fall by the wayside.
These things, like prioritizing my spiritual growth, getting enough sleep, drinking more water, flossing, eating healthy, exercising, etc, could create their own monster list of “Resolutions” for 2018.
There are other things, too, like writing more thank you cards, giving out more compliments (even to strangers), and being more present and invested in the lives of the people around me.
But when I really thought about it, and thought about how I typically handle resolutions, it became clear that a list of goals, with plans and charts and deadlines, wasn’t going to work. My mental health and schedule alone make keeping to plans and deadlines nearly impossible, never mind trying to keep track of 17 different goals for the new year.
So instead, I’m boiling everything down to just one resolution, with two parts:
Take care of myself, and take care of others.
If you’ll notice, the things I listed above are all related to these two things, and if you really think about it, they also go together.
When I thought through this year, I had to face some difficult truths about how I relate to other people, and how my actions and life — including my health — affect others, especially the people closest to me.
When I don’t take care of myself, I limit my ability to care about the people around me, and can even end up hurting them through my neglect.
As someone who is always living in fast-forward, focusing on taking care of myself — and giving myself the freedom to turn my focus outwards — will be challenging. These things require slowing down, which I’m very much not good at.
It also requires a lot of bravery to be honest with myself about things I do or don’t do, and how those are affecting people, including myself.
To that end, my quote for this year, and to accompany these resolutions, comes from Kenneth Branagh’s adaption of Cinderella (2015):
Have courage and be kind
…to myself and to others.
If specific and SMART goals are what get you motivated, then you go, girl. Achieve those dreams.
But if, like me, you struggle with deadlines or even just find yourself in a place where you need to start making better life choices for your own health and sanity, then I invite you to join me.
Give yourself the permission to make a flexible resolution, one that can adapt with your changing circumstances. Because some days taking care of yourself may mean going to the gym and eating like a nutritionist and flossing. But some days taking care of yourself may mean eating doughnuts and watching Netflix in your pajamas.
And most importantly, taking care of yourself will mean giving yourself grace when you inevitably break your resolution, as we all do at least once. That’s when the Cinderella quote becomes useful: have the courage to try again, and be kind to yourself if you fail or make a mistake.
In 2018, let’s have courage and be kind – to ourselves and to others.
What Are Your Resolutions?
Do you have any resolutions for 2018? Will you be joining me in keeping it simple? What things do you do to take care of yourself or others? I’d love ideas!