This year I have read a plethora of reasons NOT to participate in the tradition of New Year’s resolutions: “If you can’t love yourself at 185 lbs., you can’t love yourself at 150 lbs.” “Embrace who you are.” “Be gentle with yourself.” I am a believer in self care and proactive, positive change but these loud and prolific proclamations evoke the images of Mr. Scrooge and his “Humbug” response to considering the notion of goodwill toward all people during the Christmas season.
Part of family tradition with my mother included annual New Year’s Resolutions. The pens and erasers and note paper from stockings were put to good use. My mother, my older sister and later my sister-cousin, would compile lists of things that we were going to do in the following year. It was a time of dreaming big and thinking through all of the possibilities. I did learn to ski, snowboard, water ski, drive, finish a 10 km run, do a mini-triathalon, finish my MA, take the kids to the park rather than clean the house, entertain, travel and rotate between personal and professional reads.
Yes, I have also been a chronic breaker of New Year’s resolutions. My eating habits slip and so does my exercise regime. My love affair with diet coke re-ignites. I don’t sleep enough and work too late. I don’t invest enough time into human rights work. I don’t do all of the wild and wonderful things I had planned for the new year. But the possibility remains that I will and if I do, I will be proud of my accomplishment.
I still heartily believe that I can be a better version of myself. And so I am in the process of making both personal and professional goals for the upcoming year. This will be the year I unfriend diet coke, eat less junk, take more stairs, stretch before I exercise, get enough sleep and maximize engagement in relationships and in online possibilities. And yes, I believe I can do it. At least some of it. Hope still burns! And in my wake of enthusiasm, I will encourage my relatives, friends, colleagues and students to join me in the pursuit of being the very best version of ourselves. Good luck with your New Year’s resolve and accomplishments big or small along the way!