Because of the continual trauma that was 2018, resolutions sound like a futile, shame-based practice that will only serve to keep you down. And certainly, many resolutions (especially those based on diet and weight as B wrote about here) are just lubrication for a shame spiral. But for better or worse, I am a resolutioner. I welcome any kind of “new” to prompt these resolutions (new moon, new clothes, new month, etc) and the new year is the mother of all resolution making seasons. How can you make resolutions that won’t pressure you into buying a scale, eating kale, and hating yourself? This year I asked myself three questions.
1. wtf happened?
Remember those times you thought 2018 would kill you? You’ve done a lot this year, endured a lot, changed a lot. Good resolutions start with acknowledging where you’ve been. Make a timeline of 2018.
Grab a sheet of blank paper and draw a timeline down the middle. Label the months of the year and start marking significant events you remember. If you feel like it, put the positive events above the line and the not-so-positive below the line. Once you mark the ones you immediately remember, skim through your instagram and journals for ones you forgot about. Don’t bother making it pretty. 2018 was anything but and that’s ok.
2. What lessons did 2018 teach me?
They say that every struggle, heartbreak, and trauma contains a lesson. I think that’s bullshit (there’s not a one to one ratio for pain to understanding) but there are definitely some struggles/heartbreak/trauma teaching us lessons along the way. Journal for a moment about what lessons you learned in 2018. I recommend a little word vomit session (think a minute or two) then turning the page to consider a few more deeply.
Your timeline should help with this. From my timeline, I was reminded that for a good chunk of 2018 I was unemployed. I took a risk quitting a safe service industry job to try to be a full-time freelance writer. I went back to the service job a few months ago, but I secured two freelance gigs, learned a lot about my industry, and crystalized my focus on this passion. Those months taught me that I am capable of taking risks and that my attachment to a job title has kept me from living the best version of my life. It also taught me that I don’t do so well being broke. 2019 resolution: fuck bitches, get money. I’m joking! Real resolutions are not as catchy and my bf hates when I call him a bitch.
3. What can I let go of in 2018?
Turn to a fresh page and consider what has weighed you down, what has served its purpose, what no longer serves your life. This is all the garbage you wish wasn’t on your 2018 timeline.
What guides your decisions? Is it a value or quality you like about yourself? What narratives repeat in your head? Are they healthy? Who protects your heart and energy? Who threatens it? What stories do you tell where you play a helpless sufferer? These things are taking up space in your heart and mind where the things you truly want should be. Clear out the cobwebs of long-dead spiders. We’re installing a halo light for fuego selfies there.
Fold your timeline and close your journal. Put them away and enjoy your new year’s eve. While you’re dreaming, while ball-dropping, while binging Mrs. Maisel, your brain will be working on synthesizing the work you’ve done. The resolutions will come to you like a vision of who you want to be.
Here’s what mine look like:
-Stop trying to prove shit.
-Address your physical symptoms of stress.
-Walk confidently, intentionally, and decisively toward the vision of your life that’s forming.
And, listen, if the resolutions don’t come to you, maybe this is the year of no-resolutions. The point is, you did it. You survived 2018. And if you like it or not, 2019 will be wildly different. We can’t wait. thank u 2018, next.