How to Make a Resolution After an Uncertain Year

Let the instability of the year that was strengthen your dedication to what comes next.

Posted in , Dec 27, 2020

New Year's resolutions

We are closing the book on a year that was defined in many ways by fear, instability, confusion, anger and grief. For many of us, it was a year of layered losses—death, illness, financial hardship and loneliness sharing an all-too-large Venn diagram.

This compounded emotional heaviness—not to mention cumulative, chronic low-level stress—can make the notion of a New Year’s resolution seem downright bizarre. As eager as we may be to turn the page to 2021, to change direction, to begin to move toward healing and wholeness, starting something new can feel overwhelming at a time when uncertainty has been the only consistent for months on end.

Having walked with you throughout this pandemic year, writing in this space about the ongoing project of walking an authentically positive path through each day as it comes, I have some ideas for how to find your “resolve” as the new year dawns.

Embrace the Uncertainty
Every New Year’s Day is an uncertain time, we just usually don’t focus on the challenging aspect of that fact. Try to embrace the opportunity inherent in starting fresh, not knowing what will come to pass, but committing to show up for yourself as the year unfolds.

Appreciate the Journey
Take a moment to celebrate your arrival at this moment. You have navigated some challenging days to reach this one. Your perseverance is a strength, and your interest in growing from here is a testament to the “resolve” you carry with you through hard and joyful times alike.

Ask Your Resolutions
I’ve written before about the value of phrasing New Year’s resolutions in the form of a question. Asking yourself what you want to do, as well as why, when and how, can soften the pressure to make instant, measurable life changes on January 1. It also makes space for you to be gentle and flexible with what you are committing to.

Look Inward
There’s a quiet power to New Year’s Day that feels something like awe. Take a moment to stand in that feeling, in the comfort and the emotion of the passage of time. See yourself right here, right now and ask yourself if reflection, rather than resolution, is the word you need to carry forth into the new year. What do you see when you look inward?

How do you feel about the upcoming year?

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