The holidays are crazy. After spending beyond the budget, eating enough to kill an elephant, and drinking a corner of our liver off, there is renewed pressure on whether we succeeded in meeting our new year’s resolutions for 2011. Dare we look at the list made after spiked egg nog, red wine and a couple of shots of scotch approximately 12 months ago? Yet another list made with high hopes and renewed enthusiasm. Is it possible to sustain enthusiasm for all those items on the list for an entire year? Alas, a couple of goals were actually met on the list: Goal No. 1: “read at least one book this year (and Twitter doesn’t count);” and Goal No. 10: “sleep more.” Congratulations! However, the disappointment comes when none of the unrealistic resolutions in the middle were met or even attempted, like Goal No. 6: “Save a million dollars;” and Goal No. 8: “Buy a Lamborghini.”
For centuries humans have carefully put together their life’s plans resolving at the stroke of midnight that their new life begins on January 1 by adhering to a list. I have gone so far as to frame my list. One time I hung it on the fridge so I was forced to look at it daily. Another time I actually miniaturized my list. I put it in my wallet so that it would fall out when I paid cash for something like a Starbucks coffee, which I’m sure was a no-no on my list. Crap.
Not only do we set ourselves up for failure, but we fail at some of the items on our list over and over as we try to regroup all year long. Yes, there are numerous adages that state failures lead to successes; learn from your mistakes; try, try again; and if you fall off, get back on. All true, but do you really need a list staring at you to remind you that you failed?
On the flip side, I have written thoughts down on paper and thrown them into a fire in an effort to let go. That felt the best. I was no longer disappointing myself, I was freeing myself of something that I no longer had a need for in my life. Maybe it was something dragging me down. It was a form of liberation without burning my bra. Especially since bras are really expensive.
As I picked up my notebook to begin creating my list of 2012 resolutions, I thought about the fires in the past and played with the thought of simply not doing it. After thinking about all the disappointment I have experienced with myself, I wondered which would be worse, no list or not meeting the goals on the list. As usual, I couldn’t decide what to do. So, when in a quandary, change gears and walk away from the problem. The hope is that the answer will pop into my head when I expect it least. So I started brushing my dog and turned to my favorite blog, Zen Habits, for some reading. Amazingly, the latest post was all about NOT setting new year’s resolutions. It was fate.
We already know the answers to our own questions but many times refuse to acknowledge them. For example, should I eat this piece of Death by Chocolate dessert even though I only have 5 pounds left to lose? Should I go out drinking even though I have been diagnosed with diabetes? Should I go to the gym, or watch Steel Magnolias for the 39th time while eating my tears with spoonfuls of Cherry Garcia ice cream? The same applies to resolutions. You already know what you want to accomplish. You might even have a business plan or something to that affect. Why torture yourself with yet another list? Don’t you have some twatting on Twitter to do?
Instead of having a year-long “to-do” list that diversions cause you to stray from, experience a year of freedom. No more stressing about working hard enough to meet a goal or telling anyone what goal you are working towards. Release the unnecessary stress and enjoy the world around you while you experience new things at your whim. Not only are you free, but everyone around you is free as well. Free from your stress. I should know, I have been stressing out my family for years. Hopefully I can stick to a “no-resolution resolution.” There will be a lot of happy people if I can.
Here’s to freedom and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Stay tuned for the next installation of “Thank You Notes from Hell” and the Super Bowl.