I’m not a fan of resolutions.
While I think it’s only natural for people to take stock of their lives when there’s an obvious passage – and the turning of the new year is a pretty obvious one – studies show that resolutions set us up for failure. And they actual miss the mark. Because a lot of the time, we don’t really want the things we think we want.
Y’see, those of us who are lucky enough to live in the western world are often characterized by our striving: we want more stuff, we want more comfort. (Or maybe we want more challenges and less stuff…?)
Sometimes we think we want things we’ve been programmed to want since we were kids, or since we started reading women’s magazines, or watching television.
We want to lose weight, attract our “perfect” partner (that’s gotta be a rant for another day…), get our finances in order, get the newest iWhatever.
We want to find a better, higher paying job … but we also want work/life balance.
And don’t forget passionate sex; we definitely want that.
And we want self-confidence, and happy, adjusted, creative, and confident kids.
And we definitely want Pinterest-worthy decorating and organization in all of the rooms and closets in our home.
Y’know: nothing much. Just the picture-perfect package.
The thing is, that’s a lot of stuff to want. And not only is it unrealistic (and we know it is, but we still kinda want it, right?) … we can’t resolve ourselves into it getting it.
New Year’s resolutions rarely stick, and that’s because people often put the want before willingness … the external dream before the internal work. They look at stuff and situations, and translate those into a want.
But when we don’t work from the inside out,
we’re creating goals that we’re not really willing to work for.
I propose another way. A way that works from the inside out..by first cleaning out the gunk that you think you want.
I call it the Screw (year) List.
It’s easy, and it’s kinda fun. (Cause you get to say “screw this” and “screw that” to all sorts of stuff.) (stay with me…)
Pick up a notebook, a journal, or a random piece of paper, and start listing all the stuff you’ve been telling yourself you need to change to get the thing(s) you (think you) want…things you’ve been flirting with making a resolution about. Write them down; get them out on paper. Think about the stuff you get bombarded with from social media, movies, TV, the internet, talk shows, magazines, your family of origin, your significant other, your friends, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
Then, tell ’em all to screw off. Get lost. Kick ’em to the cosmic curb.
- Screw all the end-of-year articles that tell you to “love yourself more,” “become who you want to be,” and “forgive yourself” in order to have a happier new year. (Cause, sure…they’d all be nice, but do those articles ever tell you how to get there? Particularly if your self-esteem is in the crapper?)
- Screw the soft-focus photos with inspirational quotes that have no foundation in reality. (No, things do NOT happen for a reason, damn it. Shit happens, and we live though it all and discover the reason in time. Or we simply make the meaning ourselves. Or not.) (And yeah, that’s a longer rant for another day too.)
- Screw the magic day-planner or app that will get. you. organized. once. and. for. all.
- Screw white knuckled change. Willpower schmillpower.
- Screw comparison. (It takes every kind of people to make the world go round, yeah.) (That means you, too.)
- Screw the diet. (Fuck diets! Yeah fuck them. Really. [and not in a good way…].) (Eat good food, sure. Choose to walk a little more, absolutely. Break a sweat a sweat now and then if you can, yes. But fuck. all. the. diets.)
- Screw magic products that promise “age defying” results. (Because, seriously $1,115 for 1.7 oz tub of “peptides”? What the fuck are they? And while we’re at it, screw the drugstore brands at $25 for the same 1.7 oz. too. Do you really think a fancy cream will make a 40 or 50-year-old face look like the 20-something model in the ad? Or even like your former 20-something face again? Hell, no.) (Trader Joe’s moisturizer for me: 4 bucks.) (But I digress…)
- Screw saying “yes” to obligations when you want to say “no.”
- Screw saying “no” when you want to say “yes.”
- Screw the stories you make up about what other people are thinking, (“He didn’t call because he just can’t handle strong women.” Because, really: all you know is that he didn’t call. Beyond that, you haven’t a clue. Maybe he didn’t call because he was abducted by aliens. I mean, as far as you actually know, it could be that as much as it could be the story you’re telling yourself. Stop makin’ shit up.)
- Screw the “women don’t do” stories your folks, or your church/temple/mosque, or school inculcated in you. Women don’t dress like this. Talk like that. Take those risks. Ask for what they want. Laugh so loud, cry so much, express anything unpleasant. Screw that.
- Screw the expectations. Your own, and others.
The Screw (year) List shows you where you’re out of alignment; the places where you’ve absorbed stuff that doesn’t truly resonate. So go ahead: add your own Screws to the list. (And take off the ones of mine as you wish. i.e.: “Screw the things that Deb thinks I oughta say ‘screw’ to…”)
Once you’ve let yourself consider all the stuff you want to drop-kick back to the universe, ask yourself:
- Do I really want to make significant changes this year?
- What do I think will happen if I do?
- What do I think will happen if I don’t?
- How do I think that will make me feel?
- Is it the goal or the thing I want, or could it be the feeling?
- What do I want to feel more of anyway?
- What would make my days (weeks/months/year) deeper/fuller of those feelings?
If, after you write on this stuff for a while you realize it’s the thing(s) you really want, fine; cool. That’s great. Then by all means, work for the thing(s). But if you’re not sure, that’s where writing practice comes in (You knew I was going there, right?).
Writing will have you checking in with your life on a regular basis. You’ll see where you’re out of alignment faster, and you’ll organically be checking in on these questions, and course correcting as you go.
You’ll see where your expectations are driving the bus, and you’ll start to notice when a kinder, more expansive inner voice starts taking the wheel.
(as you wish, my padawan.)
If you like how that sounds, and you want more support in doing that; creating organic goals – ones you actually want to achieve – and that you’re willing to take action on, make sure you’re on my insider’s list* so you get the scoops on my upcoming Unwritten workshop, to help you create the foundations for a supportive, lifelong writing practice.
*I don’t send a lot of emails; i’m on overload too. 🙂