The new year.
A time when many are trying to unsuccessfully convince themselves to exercise more, lose weight, and get organized. Yet, you may have a few friends who are optimistically coming up with a resolution or two. They’re eagerly dusting off cookbooks, setting their alarms for before the crack of dawn, and making space for new Pelotons as they anchor into visions of their best selves and best lives.
However, for the vast majority of us, resolutions feel heavy.
They feel like drudgery with a grit-your-teeth-get-it-done kind of energy.
They can imply we’re personally in need, or personally lacking.
And that we’ve been doing things wrong.
Resolutions come with baggage. Deep down, most of us are afraid we won’t follow through on what we set out to do. This not showing up for ourselves means we’ll have to deal with additional negative emotional ramifications, like the guilt that comes from letting ourselves down, over and over again.
For the small percentage who do embrace a resolution and go after it full speed, watch out. Research conducted by Strava, the social network for athletes, has discovered that the second Friday in January, now known as “Quitters’ Day,” is the fateful day when motivation falters for good, for the majority actively trying for better.
Personally, I think the concept of resolutions is long overdue for a reframe.
What if resolutions were “re-solutions” that filled us with energy and enthusiasm?
What if resolutions were beautiful choices that were easy to implement?
What if resolutions were enjoyable life upgrades that translated to a lighter mind, body and home?
That’s how I’m choosing to think about resolutions for 2022.
And I think this interpretation will help me go from deciding to change, to actually implementing and maintaining change, in areas of life where I feel stuck.
With that in mind, I excitedly wrote down ten 2022 resolutions that look very different from the resolutions I’ve created in the past (which like most everyone else were to exercise more, lose weight and get organized.)
Today’s resolutions feel light and I smile each time I read through them. Frankly, I’ll probably end up printing them and pinning them to the bulletin board in my office as an upbeat reminder of how I want to show up in 2022.
Here they are :
- I resolve to drink green smoothies… not because they’re healthy, but because I like the taste of them.
- I resolve to watch sunrises… because they fill me with optimism and motivation.
- I resolve to walk outside… not because it’s exercise, but because I like fresh air and the creative ideas I get while I’m out moving my body.
- I resolve to put the baking ingredients away as I use them… because I like an organized and clean kitchen.
- I resolve to do more writing… because the act gives me agency and helps me decide how I want to interpret and live my life.
- I resolve to continue to invest in my personal development… because I’m worth it and because my experience is growth is the gift that keeps on giving.
- I resolve to pause and then get curious when I feel hurt, frustrated or angry… because maybe just maybe it’s not about me.
- I resolve to ask myself at the end of each month what was the best decision I made over those 30ish days… because it feels good to celebrate and it creates positive momentum toward the life I want to live.
- I resolve to throw away anything that may be contaminated by invisible toxic mold that made me so sick over the last few years, like my undergraduate and graduate diplomas… because my value isn’t entwined with the physical representation that I attended those institutions, or any other tangible object I own.
- And in that vein, I resolve to continue to collect more memories versus things (which was one of the best decisions I made in 2021.)
These resolutions feel expansive and light to me.
None of these resolutions will require willpower to stay the course.
None of these make assumptions that I’m lacking in some instrumental way.
None of these is a personal attack on my physical form, yet they will all lead to a healthier, happier, and lighter me.
And all of these resolutions feel like “get-to-dos” and “want-to-dos” versus “have-to-dos.”
Incorporating them into the rhythm of my days will be a privilege, not an obligation.
So can you resolve to do resolutions differently this year?
And whether you call them resolutions or wishlists or goals, can you promise to make them fun? Take a moment now to write down a few resolutions and then see if you smile as you read through them. Ask yourself, do they feel light? Are these things you want to do? And will your future self thank you for choosing these particular activities and showing up in this new way?
Done this way, resolutions can be a beautiful pathway toward intentionality and 2022 being your lightest year yet.
About the Author: Heather Aardema is an optimistic build-er-upper, momma of two boys, mountain biker, and fan of homemade and not-perfect. She’s the founder of School of Living Lighter—where she helps women tackle their clutter, un-complicate their lives, and lose weight for good—read more of her essays at SchoolofLivingLighter.com.