I’m not ditching resolutions; I’ve full on ditched them. Heave ho. No remorse. Resolutionless.
It isn’t that I don’t like the idea of goals. I just feel that telling myself I’m going to do something now – after having had a whole year (or let’s be real – 17 years) to do it, is sort of silly. (Lose weight. Ehhh. Start working out. Meh. Quit drinking. Definitely not.) And apparently I’m not totally alone. According to Statistic Brain, only 45% of Americans are still making resolutions and only 8% are actually successful at achieving them. So what does that mean? Well, I think it means we need something different, a new kind of resolution.
Resolutions come from something deeper. We say “lose weight” or “work out more” but we really want to live a healthier life. The problem with resolutions isn’t that we reach too far, but that we don’t reach far enough.
So let’s start thinking bigger.
The first year I made a yearly intention, it unknowingly, became Excelsior. Long story short, it meant looking for the silver lining in situations. I didn’t become Mother Teresa but I found the good in more situations that year than any other and felt more positive because of it.
The second year, my intention was an American Authors’ lyric, “No Limits, Just Epiphanies.” I admit, it was a strange one, but as I thought back on that year; it had been a year of limitless discovery. It was the year I fully embraced myself as a writer – money or no money. I began writing for two major websites. When people asked what I did, I no longer said I was a stay-at-home mom/writer-in-dreaming. I said I was a writer – maybe a happy, penniless one – but a writer nonetheless. And then, just three days before the end of the year, I published my first paid article. Limits? What limits?
The next year, as years previous, it took me a little while to land on the perfect intention. I toiled around with the idea of being more positive but I needed a bit more beef. More substance. And then it came to me in the form it often does… Oprah.
In an interview with Diane Von Furstenberg, Oprah talks to DVF about the wrap dress, the dress that made her a success and this is what she had to say,
“You never really feel the success; you always feel the things that are going wrong. So many mornings I wake up and I feel like a loser, and I ask other people who are successful, ‘Do you ever feel like a loser?’ and they say yeah.”
I thought to myself How sad. How sad to be standing smack in the middle of your success and not know it, not feel it..
And then I realized that I do the same damn thing. When my work gets published, I asterisk it like Roger Maris and think Well it’s published but not paid…. And when I finally published a post that I thought was paid, I didn’t tell Husband until check was in hand… just in case. When I discovered that it was, in fact, a paid post, I beat myself up because it was only one paid post and not a swarm of them. Real writers get published, get paid, write books, etc., etc., etc.
I was standing right in the middle of my successes and not seeing it. How sad indeed.
And just like that… Zing! I was so busy thinking about my failures when the only thing I was failing at was failing to see my successes. My life is the epitome of success – at least, my version of it – and it’s time I started taking notice.
Update: *My intention that year become “It’s all a success.” And it was certainly a year full of success.
Want help finding your intention for the new year?
Step 1: Don’t rush. Let what you want for this year seep in and fester a bit. Don’t be rash. Do you want to be kinder? Show more gratitude? Do you want more adventure? More travel? What part of your life would you like to nurture more?
Step 2: Intentions are more than just wants or goals. It should be something that envelops your whole life and not just one part of it. For my English teachers out there, it should be a theme for the year. Essentially, what’s the big picture?
Step 3: You don’t have to write it down, though you can if you want, but definitely use it as a mantra. Remind yourself of your intention every so often and take stock at how it’s being fulfilled.