It’s that time of year again, where we make lists of major lifestyle changes—a New You in the New Year. We feel giddy with excitement at what these changes promise us in return, we can taste the satisfaction of conquering our new goals and the accomplishments, a sense of purpose and the ability to “do it all.”
The idea of crafting a new version of ourselves for the new year is our attempt to pressure cook progress and growth. Fun fact – eighty percent of resolutions fail by February. We are teeing ourselves up to fail perfectly, to feel guilty, to throw in the towel and say, “what’s the point?”
But what if we didn’t believe in the concept of failing? Failing depends on the direct relationship to performance and doing something perfectly. Instead of focusing our energy on not failing, what if we focused our energy on not performing?
Resolutions are a performative practice. Have you ever made resolutions and then decided not to tell anyone? Exactly.
It is completely understandable that we would want to share our goals, to feel the support of those closest to us, to feel encouraged, to have positive interactions with family and loved ones.
Praises are sung when we chat with coworkers about our lists of great change and healthy resolutions for the new year. We encourage and congratulate goal setting; we adopt one another’s resolutions or up the ante by setting them with friends to tackle together. We are able to connect in our collective want to be the best versions of ourselves. None of this is inherently wrong, or purposefully harmful. It does, however, keep us tethered to the belief that we are not, and never will be enough, just as we are.
The anti-resolution list can be a liberating experience; how do you make a resolution list from a place of believing that you are already enough?
There are many versions of an anti-resolution list, the approach I find most encouraging is the What I’ve Accomplished List. Instead of writing down all of the things we wish to change about ourselves in the upcoming year, we write down all of the things we have accomplished this past year.
To move this into the upcoming year you then expand on what you have accomplished and note the ways you plan to continue that growth.
In this approach we are creating MORE room for success, by focusing on joy, self-compassion, self-awareness and love. This inverts the typical resolution list that focuses on ways in which we have been “failing” and ways to be “better,” or ways to “fix ourselves.”
When we decide to say no to the typical resolution list (aka a laundry list of the ways to be better) we are also saying no to popular culture. We’re saying “no” to mass marketing, we are removing the never-ending lists of ‘should’s’ and ‘shouldn’t’s’ that just create more ways for us to “fail.” We, instead, create a list from a place of enough-ness.
This allows us to build on gratitude, to build on positive practices we’re already practicing and to affirm work we’ve been doing that doesn’t often get acknowledged.
Cheers to 2020 friends, may you appreciate all you have accomplished so far!
Whitney Hull – Benson is a Certified Wholistic Nutritionist and an advocate for radical food and body empowerment, and is constantly honing her knowledge in Body Trust, Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size. By using a wholistic, weight-inclusive and anti-diet approach she is able to help her client’s build a more positive emotional relationship with food and their bodies.