In those first moments of the New Year, when glasses are raised, toasts are made and hugs and kisses are shared among lovers and strangers alike, there exists in the minds of many a checklist that represents newness. Those who create such a list like to believe they have the strength of character and determination to live out their intentions for the next 365 days. I am, of course, talking about New Year’s resolutions.
“I’m going to stop drinking.” “This is my year to exercise!” “I vow to be a better person.” “Okay, I’m gonna do it…I’m gonna quit smoking!” “I’m gonna travel to exotic faraway lands this year,” (said every wanderlust-in-training who hasn’t even bothered to get a passport). “This year, I’m going to volunteer at a homeless shelter.” “No more Facebook!” Yeah, right.
New Year’s resolutions, for all their good intentions, don’t stick. True, there are some exceptions, but overall, they’re like lofty goals and proclamations that make us feel warm and aglow inside, but rarely do they reconcile our mental drive with our true resolve to get things done. And we likely make too many resolutions. And they can be too vague for us to effectively act upon. And…
But this is just my opinion.
I no longer feel the need to make resolutions in the wee hours of the New Year. Or on the day of or week after, for that matter, when others may have fallen into a mild state of panic at the thought of not having committed themselves to a litany of unrealistic resolutions. While this isn’t scientifically driven or backed up with empirical data, pie charts or roving reporters on the street forcing surveys on unsuspecting passersby, my guess is that many of us resolve to turn over a new leaf and change who we are, ergo, the “New Me” syndrome.
To be honest, I don’t feel there is much need for me to proclaim myself a “new me” with the passing of each year. Minor flaws notwithstanding, I think the me of today is a pretty damn good version. I don’t have aspirations on becoming brand new. Knowing, however, that there’s always room for improvement, I choose to shoot for an improved me.
What does that mean?
It means I won’t put pressure on myself to be someone I’m not. It means there will be no facade. It means I won’t beat myself up if and when my shortcomings are on display. It means I won’t make starry-eyed promises to myself that I likely won’t keep or live up to. I won’t compare myself to other women in the vain hope of being just like them.
What I will do is try my damnedest. At everything. At being a better cook (I love to experiment in the kitchen)…at being a living example of an empowered woman…at being more tolerant of myself and others…at changing the things that I can and accepting those that I cannot…at loving myself.
2017 shouldn’t be about total makeovers. It’s okay to love the woman that you are. It’s okay to accept your faults and, when necessary, endeavor to change them. It’s okay to take things slow and move at your own pace. It’s okay to forgive, for that forgiveness sets you free from the burden of bitterness and antipathy. It’s okay to take things one step at a time. It’s okay to live in the moment and plan for the future. It’s okay to make promises to yourself, just make them doable. It’s okay. It really is.
Have you promised to be a new you in 2017? Or a better you?