Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

A Blank Page, A New Year

As 2016 draws to a close, many people who I know are happy to see the tail end of that has been a difficult year. The final week of December is a time of hope and planning. People usually start to contemplate the coming year and the changes they would like to make. They make grand resolutions that fall flat some time around January 3rd. The best of intentions run amok, and we feel heartbroken that we didn’t have the stamina and wherewithal to see them through.

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I am one of those people who flog myself mercilessly if I fail to do something that I set out to do. Mind you, this does not in any way guarantee success of any kind. Instead, it adds a lot of self-imposed pressure to the beginning of a project. I dread the moment when I get distracted or my goals run off track. Even if no one else knows what I have set out to do, and so no one else knows that it isn’t happening in the time frame I had hoped, I still beat myself up.

There have been years when I have refused to make resolutions, and I have ended up feeling bereft by mid-January with nothing to strive for.  I do better when I am working towards something in my life.

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I came across an article titled, “Forget New Year’s Resolutions! Six Alternatives to Create Real Change in the Coming Year.” I highly suggest you check it out. One of the suggestions is to make 12 monthly experiments. Instead of focusing on the permanent change, which can seem insurmountable, you ask yourself what would happen if you did something (or didn’t do something) for 30 days. What would happen if you wrote 500 words each day for 30 days? What would happen if you ate fewer sweets for 30 days? It makes a goal seems more attainable. The author also suggests breaking your goals into more attainable chunks. Instead of setting yourself up for a whole year, focus on a month, or even a week. This is the approach I took in the gargantuan task of self-publishing my first book last year, and it works!

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Another post I found titled, “Why You Shouldn’t Set A New Year’s Resolution (Do This Instead),” tells us to just be. Take all the pressure off yourself with all the shoulds and rules and musts. Just allow yourself to be present and receptive. Allow yourself to listen for what will really feed your soul and do that.  I love the idea of this. I do feel like the last year, especially the last four months, has left me broken and laying on the floor in a puddle. I have no desire or energy to undertake any major projects. If I were to listen to my heart, I would give myself a few months to just spend whatever spare time I can manage to eke out wallowing in books and fabric and spending some quality time with my sewing machine.

I am looking at the new year like a blank page to fill with whatever kicks my skirt up. Yes, I have goals. I am a planner at heart. But I do believe that forgoing resolutions this year will go a long way towards healing my soul and getting my psyche back on track. We cannot force ourselves to constantly improve and perform. We must allow time for the wallowing that feeds our soul. So go ahead and wallow in whatever makes you smile – cats, dogs, chocolate, hobbies, good food, good wine, good friends. Because life cannot always be about the quest for the next goal. Sometimes life just needs to be about living.

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And after you have given yourself ample time to relax and refresh after this last year, I have found some other great resources to help me tackle the changes that I want to manifest in my life:

A Year to Clear: A Daily Guide to Creating Spaciousness in Your Heart and Home
Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You are
This Year I will…:How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True
Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips on the articles. I, too, always made lists and then beat myself up over not following them. I finally cut up the lists and vowed just to live by one: take each day as one day, and if I fail at that one day, well as it’s said in Anne of Green Gables, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.” Happy New Year!

    • It’s the Scarlett O’Hara mindset – “I will worry about it tomorrow!” 😊 I have to constantly remember not to beat myself up, too! We are our own worst critics.

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