Observe: My No-Resolution Resolution

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This time of year, something tends to stir in me, as happens with a lot of us. As I overspend on presents, feel the routine of my work schedule slip away for a few weeks, and get swept up in the chaos of holiday mayhem surrounding me, I crave stasis. You know the feeling. The holidays are very much like one of those British holiday crackers. You pull a string and confetti goes everywhere. On the other side of it all is January, beckoning out like a lighthouse. “I’m here. I have your routine. I have new routines. You’ll feel so much better once you get to me. You’ll be so much better once you get to me.”

Is this where New Year’s resolutions come from, the sweet reward of post-holiday calm? The quiet click of the office door behind us as we sit down and try to come back to our old, productive selves? I think it might be. But, at the same time, I also think something else: New Year’s resolutions don’t serve us. They make us feel bad. So, despite the nagging feeling that a new, better reality lies just on the other side of the gingerbread I’ve been eating for breakfast for the third day in a row (Mayhem!), my New Year’s resolution is that I’m saying goodbye to resolutions.

Why am I resolving not to resolve to do anything? In my experience, resolutions do one thing and one thing only: make me feel bad after about two weeks into a sparkling brand-new year when I’m inevitably — record scratch — still the person I was the year prior. And the year before that. And the 35 years before that.

Resolutions are myths. They’re ideas we get in our heads about this new person we’re going to become. New year, new me! What about new year, same me?

To be clear, I’m not saying this to be self-deprecating. I don’t think the me I revert to post-resolution, or the me I’m just going to simply be fine with continuing to be this year, is bad. Sure, I have my struggles, but in general, I think I’m a pretty okay person. I work hard, I love my family fiercely, and in most situations, I try and do my best. And actually, that’s the reason I don’t want to make a bunch of resolutions  for the new year. I think the current me is just fine. Flawed, yes. But fine. Why go through the heartache of swearing her off, only to have to resolve that, oh yes, I’m still me?

I think it is more than enough to simply take a pause this month and welcome, with open arms, a new year full of opportunities to grow and learn. But, I truly don’t believe I need to change who I am or how I live. Could I eat healthier? Sure. Could I be more disciplined in my daily schedule? You bet. Does that mean there’s something wrong with the current me and that I can’t carry her over into a new year? No, I really don’t think so.

So, here I am, declaring it. This year, I’m going to forget the idea of shedding (or correcting) the 2021 me. She did just fine navigating 2021, a meandering, confusing journey of a year that it was. Instead of declaring, “New year, new me!” I’m going to stand at the precipice of 2022 and as I jump over it, I’m going to fully embrace the 2021 me. And, when I get to 2022, I’m going to keep holding onto that old me and welcome her wisdom and perspective as I navigate the new year and whatever meandering, confusing journey it has in store for us.

Tags: new year, Personal Growth, Self Care, Self Confidence

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Written By

Lauren Harkawik

Lauren Harkawik is an essayist, journalist, and fiction writer in Vermont, where she and her husband are raising their daughters. See Full Bio

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