Forget New Years’ resolutions in 2022. Instead focus on what brings you joy and purpose.
Posted in , Dec 28, 2021
Every year, I’ve tried different New Year’s resolutions—go on a diet, exercise more, finally get organized. I put a lot of pressure on myself to stick to them. Then, whenever I had that inevitable back slide, I was hard on myself for failing. Eventually, I would give up.
Finally, I decided to stop giving myself strict resolutions and focus on something else: things I’m passionate about. Now, whenever January draws near, instead of making a list of things I need to give up or change about myself, I make a list of things I'm excited to do.
Try A New Activity
After the holidays, I’m always driven to start a rigorous workout routine. While a drive to get healthy is good, taking on too much—too fast—is a sure-fire way to burn yourself out. Now, instead of focusing on a strict exercise schedule, I focus on active things that I enjoy doing. First, I commit to moving more during the day: fifteen minutes on my exercise bike, a fast-paced walk around my neighborhood, or a quick dance session in my room to my favorite song.
On the days I am struggling to get moving, I plan to make it fun for myself. I’ve always wanted to learn how to roller skate. So, this spring, I will be strapping on a pair of skates. Do you have an energetic activity you’ve always wanted to try? It could be a sport, hiking, rock climbing, yoga, or a dance class! Whatever excites you and will help get your body moving. I create manageable goals for myself, and I commit to forgiving myself if I don’t meet them every day.
Cook Something New
Another common New Year’s resolution is to start a diet. Everybody knows that diets can be difficult to stick to. I know when I commit to eating healthier, it’s hard for me to feel enthusiastic with a rigid system. I always slip up and have a day with lots of junk food because I get tired of cooking with a limited food selection. However, there are tons of healthy recipes out there to choose from.
This year, I’m choosing healthy recipes that I will enjoy cooking and eating. For example, I’m a huge fan of salmon but I’ve never tried cooking it myself. So, this year I’ll be taking a crack at preparing roasted ginger salmon. And when you light a candle and put on a little music, cooking can be a great way to unwind after a long day at your desk.
Organize at Your Pace
Every year after returning home from visiting family for the holidays, I stand in the middle of my apartment and wonder where I’m going to put the wonderful gifts they gave me. I have a small apartment, so regular downsizing is key. Even if you have more space, downsizing and organizing your belongings can give you peace of mind. This is why getting organized is such a popular New Year’s resolution. But the prospect of downsizing and organizing everything you own can be daunting.
That’s why I take it at a slow pace. Giving myself a strict timeline only stresses me out and makes me procrastinate. Instead of tackling the whole project, I will go room by room. I’ll start with the living room, then my bedroom, then the kitchen, then my office... I put on music or a favorite TV show as I do it. If I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I go outside for a quick walk. I also make organizing a chance to walk down memory lane. I’ll save organizing my photos for a day I want to take my time, so I can sit and treasure all my happy memories.
I often struggle with the feeling of being unproductive. I’m obviously not alone because another common New Year’s resolution is to be more productive. The end of the year makes us look back; sometimes we feel we didn’t accomplish enough. I once had a New Year’s resolution to read twenty books by the end of the year. I didn’t even get close. I realized I didn’t really feel like reading much that year. It was a great goal to have, but I wasn’t having any fun with it. What I did that year was take up embroidery and stitch many beautiful designs to decorate my living room.
This year, try making a list of things you would like to try. But be flexible with it! If something new comes along, don’t be afraid to add it in. If you aren’t finding any joy or sense of purpose in what you are working on, take a step back and ask if this is what you really want to be doing. And celebrate the things you do accomplish, no matter how small.
Take Time for Rest
While being productive might be a popular New Year’s resolution, taking the time to rest can be just as important. Within the hustle and bustle of daily life—work, errands, bills, family, social activities, and even following our passions—we need to give ourselves the time and space to do nothing. Rest can look different to different people, whether it’s taking a nap, practicing calming breathing techniques, staring at the sunset, or even taking a moment to quietly sit with God. Rest is vital to you being able to take on your passions in the new year and keep them going all year long.