New Year, New Perspective on New Year’s Resolutions

Close friends, mom, select coworkers, and strangers-to-me who found this blog whilst Googling the lyrics to “I Got 99 Problems,” Happy New Year!

New Year, new blog design. That’s just how it is.

I’ve always hated New Year’s Eve, and for the second year in a row my plans to spend the holiday in New York City fell through. I did, however, ring in the new year with Chinese food, friends, and champagne, so I won’t complain too much.

I usually try to ignore the New Year as much as possible and view the numerical year shift as a continuation of time, rather than a new section of it. There’s just so much pressure to “start fresh,” — a phrase which implies we should improve every aspect of our lives, or even make them Pinterest-worthy. Because, you know, I have the time and ability to make myself look like this:

I'll never look like her

Or cook this:

roasted chicken ramen howsweeteats

Or live in this:

pretty bedroom

Except I’m not fictional. So, no, none of the photos above will ever represent my life. Well, maybe the Roasted Chicken Ramen. I can pretty much do anything I set my mind to if it involves noodles.

I’ve always been goal-driven, so I’m normally all over New Year’s resolution lists. Maybe I’ve been beaten down too much or have grown far too realistic in my old age (I’m a quarter of a century old!), but this year I had as much desire to make resolutions than I did to go back to work after a two-week break. I put enough pressure on myself as it is, and I’m in no place to set my self up for failure in any way. Instead, I reflected on my past year.

It wasn’t a good year for me. I honestly don’t have much in my life to complain about, but I definitely took a beating in 2014, both physically and mentally. Who gets sick three times in two months? This girl apparently.

But, but, BUT. You know what is incredibly awesome? I have no regrets from last year. None. Does that even happen to people? Although I found myself in some pretty disparaging situations, I cannot think of one decision I regret making. Everything I did was an effort to make sure things worked out for me, even if they didn’t. I had some success, and I had even more failure, but in the end I don’t regret my experiences. I choose to focus on that.

Sure, I know what I want to do this year. I want to further my career. I want to cook more. I want to start a book club where we get drunk at our meetings. I want to take just one Barre class because I know I’ll kill it. I want to eat more fruit and ingest more calcium and watch more movies and read more and spend more time with my family and be less picky about guys and travel somewhere and oh my god I just want so many things. But I’m going to do what I’m going to do, and a list won’t change that. I’m going to eat “too many” waffle fries and forego formal exercise for extended periods of time and binge-watch Sex and the City for the 10th time instead of read and make Trader Joe’s frozen meals instead of cook something from scratch and shoot down guys because their arms are too skinny. And I’m not going to keep myself from enjoying any of it just because it’s not on a list I wrote myself.

So, if you’re starting 2015 by beating yourself up about improving every aspect of your life, well, that’s fine if that’s your mode of motivation, self-improvement and attaining happiness. However, take a moment to think about if that’s really helping you thrive, or if it’s simply stressing you out.  Instead of only thinking of all the ways we suck and making lists of what we can do improve said sucky aspects of our lives, I suggest also reflecting on the previous year, focusing on its positive aspects and in which ways we “won.” If you feel worse afterwards, well, I’m sorry — my bad. But it could help lift your mood after you realize that the holidays are another 11 months away again.  Though you may not want to relive your past year as we head into a new one, it could help you out in the long-run. Hopefully, though, your reflections provide you with a heaping amount of awesome things you said, did, or accomplished last year. The list will most likely be longer than you think. After all, a lot can happen in a year.

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