Happy New Year, everyone! Yes, yes, same book, different chapter. Fasten your seatbelt, folks, because I’m about to drop a raging rant about how I can’t even with each passing New Year and new beginnings. Please forgive me. I’m in a mood, and I know many of you feel the same.
I don’t celebrate New Year’s, really. I mean, sure, I’ll go out if someone asks me to, and I’ll smile for the camera and countdown with people if I have to to be a good sport. But everything about the New Year celebration makes me sick. There’s this misconception that the clock resets on New Year’s, and we all get to start over again. People make resolutions; THIS year, I’m going to learn to play the guitar; THIS year, I’m going to lose weight; THIS year, I’m going to save money; THIS year and THAT, and the list goes on. We use this as an opportunity to forget the past and absolve ourselves of responsibility for our shortcomings. We’re comforted by the idea that starting over seems more appealing than moving forward. I hate that. I look around and think, you’re not going to learn the guitar, you’re not going to lose weight, you’re not going to do shit. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t actually say that out loud or think it. The intent of these resolutions is nothing but good. But how we go about creating these resolutions is the problem. Wanna know how I really feel?
Disclaimer: Obviously, this is me projecting and doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.
There’s no goal without a root-cause analysis
I don’t remember the last time I had a great New Year. Every year has been one disappointment after another. I tell myself this year will be different. This year will be the year I feel fulfilled. I’ll go to the gym and eat healthier. I’ll work harder and get the raise I deserve at work. I’ll own the dream house I long for and fall deeply in love with the most incredible person I’ve ever met. They’ll know my worth without me telling them what my worth is. We’ll share the perfect New Year’s kiss, and I’ll be the happiest I’ve ever been. THIS will be MY year!
FUCK. THAT. SHIT.
I’m ending the cycle this New Year, and so should you.
New Year’s resolutions are like a shot of drugs people take annually. Similar to other goals you write down for yourself, you get a hit of serotonin in your system. You’re excited about the possibility that you may attain, if not all, at least one of these goals on your list. However, like drugs, the feeling is ever so temporary as the days turn into months. Sooner or later, you’re back to the routine you so desperately were hoping to change, basking in self-pity and self-loathing six months after the New Year clocked in. This is because you were disingenuous with yourself. Admit it. I have. You sit with yourself and write down that list and tell yourself, “we’re starting over,” implying that “last year didn’t count”. But last year DID count, and so did the year before that, the year before the year before that, and so on. By the time you get to the following New Year’s Eve, you look back and tell yourself, yet again, that this year was awful because of everyone and everything but yourself. It’s not your fault that you couldn’t achieve your goals. It’s not your fault that you don’t feel fulfilled or happy. It’s THEIR fault, it’s LIFE that got in the way, but God forbid you’re to blame for your shortcomings. Here lies the problem: we’ve been told one time too many that we need to forgive ourselves. More often than not, we confuse forgiving ourselves with erasing our past and the mistakes we made.
It’s OK to admit that you failed. Unfortunately, failure is heavily stigmatized in this world and viewed as taboo. We’re engorged with pride and obsessed with one-upping each other because we’re afraid of being judged or harshly criticized by others. But who the f*ck cares about what others think? Are the others going to pay your bills? No, that’s on you. Are the others rooting for you to succeed? No, they’re too wrapped up in delusions that they’re better than you. Are the others going to add value to your life? Is showing them that you’re doing well on the outside going to make you feel any more or less fulfilled? NO. The others don’t care about you, so why do you care so much about them and their thoughts? The obsession with what others think of us is a driving factor of our misery. It’s imprisonment. You will feel liberated once you understand why you should do better for yourself AND stop caring about how others will react to your newfound energy.
Be vulnerable and true to yourself
Resolutions are necessary to establish some stability in our lives. I don’t dispute that. In fact, it’s healthy to have goals, hopes and dreams. However, we must understand why we’d make such resolutions before determining how to achieve these goals. Otherwise, they’re nothing but words on paper, a tablet, or in whatever format you make these resolutions. Do you want to lose weight? Why? What has your past taught you that inspired this goal? Do you feel unfulfilled? Why? What lessons did you learn in the previous years that made you feel this way? The why is more important than the what in this case. Understanding the root cause of your unhappiness or lack of fulfilment will motivate you to finally achieve what you want, what you need and what you damn well deserve!
Let’s try something together for this New Year despite my dislike of resolutions. Take a pen and paper or a tablet (I prefer old school), and write down a goal for 2023. Then write out why this goal is essential to you, and keep answering why until you get to the real reason why this goal matters to you. How serious are you about achieving this goal? Is this really something you want to accomplish in 2023, or is it superficial and only meant to make you feel temporarily better about yourself? I’ll go first:
I want to be more patient and accepting of my reality. --> Why? Because I react poorly to situations that I think go wrong for me ----> Why? Because I don't like not having control over most aspects of my life ------> Why? Because I have difficulty trusting others to do what I think is the right thing to do --------> Why? Because I've been disappointed by many people, especially men, in the past ----------> Why? Because I've trusted people too quickly in the past with my vulnerabilities and my life ------------>Why? Because I thought that by trusting others I'll be accepted and loved --------------> Why? I'm afraid of rejection and being alone ----------------> Why? Because I have a lot of unresolved traumas I need to face in order to feel at peace with my past and be more patient with myself, everyone around me, and the challenges life will throw at me that are out of my control
Once you have the why, you can determine the how. How will this add value to your life, and how will you meet your goals?
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with yourself. Stop erasing your past and stop starting over when the New Year rings. Accept and own your past with all its flaws, and choose to move forward. I don’t usually write New Year’s resolutions because my New Year is my birthday. So I ring in the New Year on the day I was born, which makes more sense, in my opinion. Whatever you do, make sure it’s for the reasons that make YOU happy rather than trying to follow some superficial, overly commercialized holiday. Only you know you best, and only you should be steering the ship that is your life.
And with that, Happy New Year, folks. May the merry-go-round keep going.