I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. Not because I don’t believe in them, or goals in general. I like the idea of resolutions…or rather, I like the process of sitting down with a brand-new notebook, a freshly-sharpened pencil, and the time to brainstorm. But it usually stops there. If I’m being truthful with myself, I never set resolutions because deep down I know I’ll fail at them. So why set myself up for failure?! If I never resolve to do anything, then I can’t fail at it, right?! No one is disappointed, especially me.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not flailing about life with no aim or purpose. But I know if I resolve to drink 100 ounces of water daily, run a marathon, never yell at my kids, put down the phone, be in bed by 10pm, unpack the rest of our boxes (yes, from moving two years ago), cut out sugar, and start a monthly supper club…I’m likely to fail by January 2nd. Okay, maybe I’ll make it to the 4th or 5th.
I guess my problem with resolutions is they’re so, well, resolute. There’s no give, no room to bend, no yielding. I’m a horribly flawed human…I need some flexibility! But I do like having a life mantra, or personal mission statement of sorts. Something that allows me to acknowledge my flaws, and sets in place the opportunity to improve, without the pressure of a pass/fail.
A few years ago, I realized I allowed myself to get paralyzed with indecision, by always waiting for the perfect moment or opportunity before tackling projects and ideas. I would be more overwhelmed with the weight of what I intended to do, than the actual task itself. So I set my mantra that year to ‘Just Start Somewhere.’ Instead of tossing an idea around 1000 times in my head, I jumped right in. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I have to start over…but at least I have forward momentum.
So when this New Year rolled around, I wasn’t resolving to work out more, or eat fewer tacos #blasphemy, but there was a word that kept popping in my head…a word, that strangely enough, usually annoys me.
There’s really nothing that irritates me more, than when someone (usually my loving spouse) says, ‘You need to relax!’ Because let’s be honest…it’s not usually a phrase uttered out of love or concern, but rather, because I’m driving him bonkers! Webster defines the offensive word as:
- to make less tense or rigid
- to make less severe or stringent
- to deprive of energy, zeal, or strength of purpose
- to relieve of nervous tension
- to treat hair chemically in order to relax curls
Okay, the last one is slightly irrelevant to my point, but I’m nothing if not thorough. And that, my friends, is part of the problem. I’m thorough to a fault. I’m gripping so hard to life, to control, to the people around me, that I’m full of rigidity. I see one way. And that, according to Webster, deprives us of energy, zeal, and strength of purpose. Not exactly the life I’m going for.
So my word this year is Relax.
Relax my grip.
Relax my control.
Relax my expectations.
Relax my fears.
Relax my authority.
Relax my thinking.
Relax my body.
I want to allow myself to not be in charge, to not take control, to loosen the reigns…to give the people around me space to take the lead. To let things fall, or even fail, and be okay with it. I don’t resolve to doing it overnight, everyday, or even every week. But I promise myself to try. Starting with handing over the task of grocery shopping! #babysteps #dontforgetwine
Do you have a word or phrase for 2017? I’d love to hear your take on resolutions and personal goals! Do you have a white-knuckle grip on life, too?