This time of the year I’m programmed to think about New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, I’m one of those dinosaurs who has been making them (and breaking them) since my early teens. That’s a lot of years. In this century, however, I jumped on the One Word Mantra Movement instead of writing resolutions and that worked great for me in the early years of my widowhood. The idea is to pick a word that expresses your intention for the coming year, an inspiration to apply to your life. “Believe” was a common one back about 8-10 years ago but “Bravery” was my first one word mantra. It worked to chant it under my breath when I was doing things alone for the first time after my husband died. After 3-4 years of using different one word mantras I expanded to a one sentence mantra like “Be the peace you seek.” which you’ve got to admit is better than the Resolution that made my list of New Year’s Resolutions more years in my life than any other: “Take better care of myself.” I’ve been making and breaking that one since I was fifteen and I finally decided it wasn't working because I needed to be more specific.What does 'take better care of yourself ' even mean? Resolutions need to be filled with more red meat than that.
Not having a clue what I wanted to do this year I did some research online and ran across an article titled 65 Rewarding New Year's Resolutions for a Healthy, Happy Life. Most of those suggestions, however, have made my resolution lists in past years. It’s a boring list of 65 that includes stuff like “Chili Out” “Practice Mindfulness,” “Quit smoking” and “Drink less Alcohol.” For a minute and a half I considered their “Get in a body positive mind-set.” Then I decided that would take more effort than I’m willing to do (and probably a few hours on a therapist’s couch). The only suggestion that almost made it to my resolution list is number 47 which was about quitting multitasking: “Multitasking doesn't make you more efficient, but it does stress you out, says mindfulness expert Pedram Shojai, author of Focus: Bringing Time, Energy and Money into Flow.' If your focus is fragmented, you'll likely find yourself getting anxious as new items come up when old ones are still incomplete,’ he says. Instead, he suggests, organize your activities into chunks of time, such as kid time and cooking time, and then commit to being focused in those allotted minutes and see what happens. It'll help stop you from overthinking everything." Right now as I write this post I’m listening to a book and doing laundry.
Another article I found on making New Year’s Resolutions was titled 12 Inspirational Mantra for the New Year and it has stuff like:
That last one really appeals to me even if it is just a rehash of the gratitude journey I kept the year after Don’s stroke as per Oprah’s popular fad in 2000. Looking for something positive every day help get me out of the depression the aftermath that his stroke caused in our lives.
But one article on New Year’s Resolution seemed to be written strictly as click bait and it was just a word search image. The first four words you find will be your mantra for 2023. I found care, break-through, money and power on my first try but I didn’t like them and I kept looking and found change, purpose, love and alignment. This is a lazy man's way to pick a resolution so why bother? I’d never pick my resolutions that way but I'm not above using the idea as blog fodder, so there you have it.
Every year when I write a post about resolutions I get a lot of comments from people who don’t make them and/,or think it's a silly idea, a waste of time. Writing them is outdated, I'd agree, but I still think there is value in taking stock of areas in your life that you want to change or work on improving over the next months and that’s all New Year’s Resolutions have been for me. For most of my life I've had an end of the year ritual of reviewing old resolutions written for the year that's ending and beyond. Then on New Year’s Day I’d record a new list in the front of a brand new journals.
I destroyed volumes and volumes of diaries and journals when I move here 14 months ago, just keeping the ones from my pre-teens and teen years---my naive and innocent years---which were filled with crushes and silliness. To this day I kind of wish I’d kept at least the first pages out of those 60+ years of diary and journal keeping. I miss that end of the year tradition of getting them out and reflecting over how how pretentious, silly, dramatic or lonely I was from year to year. ©
Happy New Year, Everyone!
I'll be the one spending next year trying
“Seek the sweet moments in every day.”