For anyone who set a New Year resolution this year, how is it going? The fact I am writing a blog about New Year resolutions more than half way through January might give you some indication as to my relationship with these things! I’m rubbish. I’m okay with that though because we all know they don’t work, right? And yet every year I still have some half-hearted goals, some vague things I want to change. The hope that this year will be better, I will be better. Have I ever achieved any of it? Never.
It would make perfect sense to stop making them. But I rarely do things that make perfect sense, so I am continuing, but with a slight difference this year.
I read somewhere about setting intentions not resolutions, the idea being that resolutions lead to pressure and the feeling of failure. If you set a New Year’s resolution to eat better and on January 2nd find yourself tucking into your third box of Christmas chocolates, you invariable feel like your new start is futile and abandon your plans for change. Intentions on the other hand aren’t so high-stakes. Yes, you intend 2019 is going to be a year of better food choices but that doesn’t mean one chocolate binge prevents you from achieving it. You have a chance to start again, and I love second chances… and third chances… and fourth… and fifth…
So I settled on making intentions this year. My intentions were to stick to a daily yoga practice, to play more with the cubs, to play more with Daddy Bear, to get outside more, to eat better, to worry less… hang on a minute, these “intentions” don’t feel any different to my usual resolutions. Perhaps I’d feel less guilty when I inevitably fail but there is still a long list to beat myself with and if I am totally honest aren’t intentions a bit flimsy if you actually want to change something? If I thought Daddy Bear was washing up after breakfast and I found a bowl full of dirty dishes I don’t think him telling me it was his intention to do them but that he didn’t get around to it, would really cut it.
Perhaps, after all, 2019 was going to be the year I finally ditched these pointless resolutions. But I don’t give up that easily on pointless tasks! So we are now nineteen days into January and I have finally figured it out. I am going to set an intention to be kinder. Kinder to others and kinder to myself. So perhaps one day that will look like me taking the time to play princesses with Miss Pea but another day it might mean zoning out with phone in hand to give myself some head space. One day it might mean preparing a nutritious, plant-based meal and the next it might mean ordering in pizza for a family film night. Whatever it ends up looking like, the key is to accept things for what they are. There isn’t one right way of achieving it and the biggest act of kindness it to stop judging myself and others.
2019 is the year I plan to find what feels right in each moment, I might not get thinner or fitter or richer but just maybe I might be happier. And to answer my own opening question, it might also be the year I actually manage to stick to my New Year resolution!