There’s a lot of hemming and hawing about New Year’s resolutions: the last few years it’s become fashionable to be against them. Ninety percent of them are broken, experts say, and gyms love January as a month they rake in more income than at any other time of year.
If that’s what you’re looking for, this is a different kind of post. It’s a post in favor of making goals — which of course could be made during any month — and the momentum gained by a fresh start when the calendar turns a page, not forgetting that beginnings are also about perspective: 2012 is when the Mayans thought the world would end and this has led to some of the most entertaining tweet/quips on social media.
We have seen in the New Year as couple in a variety of exotic destinations: Dubai, Jordan, Ireland, Vegas, and Doha. This year, feeling pummeled by a hectic work schedule and life with a one year old, we passed aside bragging rights in Jamaica for a spa retreat in nowhere, GA.
If you interview (or read) successful people, from any field, they tell us over and over again that goal setting is what separates those with good intentions from high achievers. Goal setting and then the tenacity to meet those goals.We can’t blame the New Year for not giving us the resolve to make our dreams come true. We can only blame ourselves for not believing enough that we can live that life, the shimmering one full of the pleasures of doing what we are good at, where we are best selves, not owned by our possessions, but using them for good.
For me, the end of the year is a ritual, not imposed by others but by my tendency towards a love of nostalgia. 2011 was hard in many ways as it brought seismic changes in both the wide world and my own tiny one. Last year I wanted to be in better physical health (too much good eating and not enough movement) and devote myself to writing full time.
I set New Year’s resolutions most Decembers; evaluating what I would like to change about the way things have happened in the months to come. Writing in a journal daily, my rough, unedited, rambling, prayerful morning pages in the tradition of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, also helps prepare me for this annual tradition. An average journal takes me through about three months of ups, downs, and all arounds. When all the pages are used up, I return to the front and make a list of all the lessons I learned during those three months. This means four times a year I get to reflect on the themes, battles, victories that make up the twelve months of that particular stage of my life.
I have piles and piles of these books as I’ve been writing daily since 1996. Some day they may be read by our child(ren) or even grandchildren. For now they are a testament to time spent with drawing from the world in an effort to better understand it.
And that’s what I love about the New Year. You get a chance to stop and start again. Like pushing stop on a DVD. You have a choice: you can pick back up where you left off, or you can start anew. I have made exercise a weekly habit: some weeks have more workouts than others. I quit my job to write full time and have published three ebooks. Instead of seeing the odd week, like this vacation, with no work outs (since I’ve left the workout DVDs — without which I am lost — at home) or the delay of a book I had scheduled to release in December, I choose to relish the weeks I hit my 120 minute goal of cardio and nearly 410 copies sold of three titles.
This gentleness to myself is something I picked up along the way. Something else I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t set any goals at all.
What about you? Have you had success with New Year’s resolutions or goal setting at another time of year?
Oh and for 2012? I’d like more of the same please… I’ve still got some pounds to lose and stories to tell.