It’s the time of year when we are inundated with messages and expectations of setting new standards and ways of living for the year to come – otherwise known as new year’s resolutions. What’s your relationship like with them? They can be a chance to start fresh, set new goals for ourselves, and work towards a sense of improvement.
They can also bring judgment. They may convey the idea that I’m not good enough the way I am so I need to intentionally set goals that will get me to the person I want to be. There is also the societal pressure of needing to improve yourself, to be the better version of you. This can feel overwhelming. What happens if I don’t reach that goal? Does it mean I’m a failure? Does it reflect my self-worth? And what happens if I do reach the goal I’ve set? Will I be satisfied and fulfilled? Or will there be another goalpost that I start working towards again, continuing the cycle of self-betterment and disappointment.
After a year of a continuing pandemic, natural disasters, grief, anxiety, and barriers to living a life of ‘normalcy’, what if we took this approach: I’m doing the best I can. I’m okay as I am. Pay attention to how this notion sits with you. Is there relief? Discomfort? Skepticism? All are okay. See if this is something you’re able to try on this year, paying attention to anything that comes up for you as you do.
If you still feel like some self-improvement is calling you this year, that’s okay too. One way to conceptualize how you want this next year to look, is to approach your resolutions from a value-based lens. A value-based resolution will be in line with how you want to live your life. First, ask yourself what some of your values are. What is important to you? What gives your life a sense of purpose and meaning? Within these values, are there practices you wish to continue implementing in your life, or some you feel would enhance your way of living? This will be a helpful starting point to creating value-based resolutions.
As 2021 comes to an end, we encourage you to reflect on the challenges, barriers, and hardships this year has brought, as well as the triumphs, little or big moments of joy, and resilience it has offered. We wish you a happy and safe new year – entering 2022 just as you are. Because it is enough.