New Year’s Eve is always more glamorous in my mind than it actually is in reality. Parties, a new cocktail dress, martinis (and I don’t even like them), and suddenly these visions take me to a high-end bar, or under the lights of a bustling city when the new year rings in. A scenario that actually never has happened. Ever!
I somehow manage to forget who I am, my lifestyle and my track record of New Year’s that have come and gone. They usually involve an evening at home, sweatpants, my favorite worn-in tee, pizza or Chinese take-out, and bargaining with my husband on which one of us can handle staying up while the other takes a nap waiting for the 11:55 pm wake-up. Still, each year as the holiday approaches, I sensationalize the notion of the clock striking midnight and poof!—a new year and a new me.
I blame this mostly on the notion of New Year’s resolutions—the idea that we set goals for ourselves purely because it is a tradition associated with the holiday, not because we generally want to, need to, or more importantly are ready to.
I spent countless New Year’s stressing myself out as the days closed in on the holiday and I had yet to set a resolution. It is kind of like shopping aimlessly through a department store for the hardest person on your list. You know full well you are going to settle for something for the mere necessity of needing something in-hand, and knowing it truly is a forced gift.
Over the years, there has been weight loss, fitness-focused, healthy eating, and kindness resolutions. All beginning January 1st and all failing miserably somewhere between week two and three in that same month. That is when I feel my bluest. The holidays are over, the decor is down and put away, my house is empty and drab, missing the glow of lights and smell of pine, and usually, we are snowed in a day or two with a traditional Nor’eastern snowstorm. And in those moments is when I let my resolutions slip.
So, I decided this New Year’s, I am throwing away the word, the thought, the act, and the stress of setting a resolution and instead, I am focusing 2018 on intention.
You see, an intention is the determination to act, whereas a resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something.
Life is already a hassle and full of stress; why start a new year, a new chapter, a new page with a firm decision to do or not do something? In my opinion, it is in that firm decision that we set ourselves up for failure. Because for most us, we are not personally ready. Whether by mind, body, or heart, we set these resolutions for the mere purpose of saying hello to one year, and goodbye to another. It is no wonder so many of us fail weeks after we begin.
Instead, by setting an intention, we are allowing ourselves the gift of failure. It’s something that can be seen as a negative, but failure is really just a way for us to challenge ourselves, to learn and to grow. Lessons in life don’t come without failure first. An intention gives us grace and the beautiful thing about grace is that it says, “You may slip, but that is OK, nothing is broken or forever.” This is unlike our resolutions which weigh heavily on us once we break them, because we feel intense failure.
I will move through 2018 with the best intentions for myself and my family. Setting my goals on the act of determination to succeed versus the decision to not fail. I already feel a sense of contentment as the new year approaches. Instead of high expectations which turn to fear, I feel more in control of my goals.
So, as 2017 ends and 2018 begins, intentions it is! Good riddance to resolutions and the idea that they will bring good tidings to me or to you.