We’re having a laugh over a drink and it’s early January. Summer heat with the odd flash rain shower. Someone in the group asks a question, a perfectly normal question to ask at this time of year: “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”
The hairs on my neck bristle. I start to think but my head hits a brick wall full of clichés. Be more present. Spend less time on social media. Have a five-year plan. Take control of my finances. Be less anxious. Take more chances. Listen to my body. Listen less to my mind.
I let someone else answer first as a stalling tactic. They’ve got career goals in mind. Another member of our table has fitness goals. Another is writing their list of goals tonight. Another has an attitude-based New Year’s Resolution around ‘giving it a go’.
And then there’s me, unresolved as to what my resolution will be for 2019. It’s not because my life is perfect and I don’t want to change anything. But it’s this unspoken pressure that the very notion of a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ puts on us to pull a goal out of a hat and make that the emblem of our year.
A lot of people have issues with the idea of a New Year’s Resolution. Yes, the end of one year prompts reflection on where you were this time a year ago, and what you achieved over that year. This can be either be positive or negative – you might not have reached a certain goal and end up beating yourself up about it, or perhaps you reached a goal and just don’t know what the next level is yet.
I’m of the firm belief that our resolutions come to us. This might sound passive, like I’m waiting for a lightbulb just to show up above my head. But in our relationships with others and ourselves, we see these lightbulbs whenever they happen to switch on. I had one towards the end of last year when my brother-in-law died. It struck me without notice – I realised how I’d like to spend my time with family while I have them. And what kind of impact I’d like to leave on others, too.
These realisations felt organic. Unexpected. Impactful.
What is your word for the New Year? Rather than picking a New Year’s resolution last year, Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright, and Jessie Stephens chose a word to guide their every move in 2018. Post continues below…