BE | On Resolutions

It’s 9pm on New Year’s Day, and I must say I had “resolved” once or twice in my own head (never committed in writing or verbally) that I would write a post today, and perhaps write them more frequently. And yes, it’s still today, but it’s late. And I’m multi-tasking. But a post about resolutions doesn’t have the same meaning if it comes out on the second, does it?

I have had a few fleeting thoughts in the last month about what I might resolve to do in 2016. Would I give up dairy once and for all? Go back to being a strict vegetarian? Exercise more? Speak more in kindness and less in anger or agitation? Draw more, paint more, read more, meditate more, take more time for myself? Would I try to volunteer more? Spend less time on my phone/computer and more time being as present as possible?

And then I remembered my well-intended resolutions from a few years ago. I hand wrote about 30 “resolutions” for myself that year, yet when I went back to it later I could only, sheepishly, check off a handful of things. Most of these things were actions I was already engaging in, and I wrote them down in order to make sure I kept doing them. Before writing this post, I took a look for this list (as I was sure I’d kept it) but couldn’t find it. Perhaps it fell victim to a recent cleaning binge.

It was because of this list, however, that I decided not to make any hard and fast resolutions for this January 1, 2016. It was also because of my general inability to (disinterest in?) do anything unless I really wanted to, or needed to. I don’t feel like I need to make any major life-changing resolutions. My life is pretty lovely. I know I can always improve, but I try to improve when I find that I need to. Not starting on a certain date.

So instead of creating resolutions that I will undoubtedly break, I will keep my list in my head and when I get to the next one, I will try to make it a habit instead of a forced task. I will work hard on it to see if it makes my life better, and if it does, I’ll keep it around. If it doesn’t, I won’t feel bad about “breaking” it, since it wasn’t really something solid to begin with.

And, though I usually don’t write down my resolutions, or these float-in-my-head life improvements as I’m calling them this year, here are a few that I know at which I can’t fail:

  • Help others when I can, and seek out opportunities to do so.
  • Speak kindly of myself and others, and share those compliments with the person directly when possible.
  • Be more understanding of circumstances in others’ lives, even when I’m not aware of them.
  • Practice my empathy muscle.
  • Allow myself, daily if I remember, to experience the overwhelming feeling of just being alive.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016! Thank you for reading.

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