New Year's Resolutions usually sound like this: spend less time on the phone and more time with friends; eat less sugar, eat more veggies; exercise more, drink less.
Most of these resolutions are well-intentioned, but if not met, they leave us feeling disappointed in ourselves.
And it’s not that the bar is set too high (because sure, “less sugar, more veggies” is a good thing). It’s that the restrictions we place on ourselves end up feeling like impossible aspirations we can never meet, or goals that limit us instead of making us stronger.
For 2020, we propose something different: a reframing of the New Year’s Resolution. Instead of calling it a “resolution,” call it a “recognition.”
In the coming decade, we’re advocating for you to recognize all that you’re doing instead of focusing on what you’re not. Resolutions are not what make your year great. You do.
Give yourself credit where credit is due and take stock of everything you’ve done in your life to get to this point. Set goals of self-appreciation, not judgment.
Not sure how it’s done? Don’t fret. Here’s a little inspiration to help you find your way:
Get physical, but don’t overthink it.
Think about something physical you’ve enjoyed in your life: Basketball team in high school? Biking in the summer as a kid? Walking your dog around the block?
There’s a good chance your body still enjoys those activities, or at least could learn to love them again.
Instead of setting an unrealistic amount of gym time as a goal, recognize an activity you love and set a smaller goal to get you back to doing what makes you happy.
If you took a yoga class in college, find a local studio and do an intro week. If you love hiking but don’t live near the mountains, sign up to take shelter dogs on long walks.
Find a way to make exercising a fun hobby, not a mandatory activity.
Save money & stop spending frivolously.
Saving money is a solid aspiration, but making it a goal can be challenging when it’s so broad.
Instead of focusing on the negative (ahem @ all the times you ordered food instead of cooking), focus on the ways to make your money work harder for you, and turn the act of spending less into a good time.
If you’re someone who loves a fancy meal, then instead of springing for multiple dinners a month, turn your Friday nights into a friendly potluck. Invite friends and family and make it a feast. You'll immediately realize that you're eating better food and making better memories, and you've actually saved money in the process!
Saving money doesn’t have to be boring - do it right and you'll actually feel like you're rewarding yourself at the same time you're watching your bank account get healthier.
Be more outgoing, creative, and confident.
We usually view our own selves through a different lens than the rest of the world. We’re our own harshest critics. We give ourselves the toughest eyes.
The self is often the hardest to please.
It’s important to remind yourself of everything that makes you unique and valuable. Instead of telling yourself who to be, celebrate who you are.
Sure! You might be more of an introvert and less of a party-person. Acknowledge this about yourself and see it as an attribute, not a detriment.
Recognize these traits and honor them - instead of resolving to change, you'll find that embracing who you are can lead to a bigger and better internal change than any other resolution you've made in the past
Write every day. Watch two movies a week. Floss every night. Pick one, pick ‘em all, pick none!
These are all good goals to have and any dentist will tell you to not skimp on the third one. We’re simply advocating for not kicking yourself in the shins should you miss a beat and forget about your resolution.
Strict guidelines and must-dos leave no room for life’s chaos, which is an essential part of how we live.
Bad days are bound to happen, roadblocks are destined to pop up, and things will get in the way of your intentions and resolutions. Let that be OK. You can always pick up where you left off.
Don’t stress about not meeting a goal. Have a glass of wine. Watch trash TV if you need to. Put on your yoga pants and don’t make it out the door. Take a breath. It will all be OK.
Remember that life isn’t about perfection. It’s about effort. All you’ve got to do is try and you're moving in the right direction.
Maggie Dodson is a creative writer living in New York City. An avid hiker and film buff, she spends most of her days sneaking wine into movie theaters and climbing mountains in the Hudson Valley with her husband and rescue dogs, Billie Holiday and Walnut.
For book + wine pairings and her merry misadventures, follow Maggie on IG at @maggiesdodson.