I typically never make resolutions for New Year's, as they often don't feel authentic. I tend to make resolutions throughout the year and act on them as I go - not all of them stick of course, but creating actionable steps for myself over a period of months feels less overwhelming than trying to cultivate numerous changes on January 1st.
I also am working hard to spend less mental space on the future or distant past. One of the most important lessons I've learned from yoga is that our life is firmly planted in the present, and we have to work to keep our minds happy in that present state. One of the ways I know to stay happy in the present is to be aware of why I'm currently doing what I'm doing, so as to know that the new year is not about giving up bad habits or feeling guilt for changing directions. Instead, I want to focus on what made me happy and confident in 2011, as a means of increasing that happiness and confidence in 2012.
Here is why I'm thankful for 2011:
- Plenty of time with my family and Eric's family: these are relationships which are super important to me, and I'm thankful that I have so much family living close by. I'm very aware of how lucky I am to feel so supported and loved by my family.
- Maintaining friendships: we all know how hard it can be to maintain friendships when we're all busy and tired. Sometimes it's just not realistic to see / talk to people as much as I'd like, but I'm thankful that when I do catch up with friends, it always feels like home. Additional benefit: the new friendships I've made!
- Love! Opening your heart up to someone can be super scary at first, but Eric has changed my entire life and I'm grateful that I used 2011 to recognize and embrace that.
- Taking risks: I've realized that playing it safe can be so boring and limiting and that the challenge is in taking strategic risks. Do I still get nervous when doing new things? Of course, but my brain now fiercely challenges me to act anyway when I'm feeling scared. This is a great development, which I think came from increased self-awareness (see below).
- Health! I think one of the main reasons I've been able to open up to people and take risks is because I have increased energy and strength. 2011 has been the year of health and rehabilitation and I think it's pretty safe to say that 2012 will be even more so. Another person to change my life in 2011: Shelli! She's helped me fix my chronic pain and regain my confidence in regard to physical activity. I'm at a point now where I feel strange not exercising every day, and that was NOT THE CASE a year ago.
- Becoming self-aware: from changing what goes into my body to recognizing my own behavior and patterns, 2011 has been largely about finding peace, cleansing toxins, and learning how to move forward in all relationships with maturity. I challenge myself daily to pinpoint why I'm feeling a certain way and to discover the root of the problem before acting.
- Remaining flexible: Even with the best of intentions, things don't always turn out the way we want them to. Goals change, time commitments change, roadblocks appear. Having the determination to keep moving even with the roadblocks is a skill, and one I'm working hard on cultivating.
- Slightly less debt: one benefit of living at home is that my private loan is almost completely gone (it will be paid off next month!) I still have other loans, but paying off the first school loan feels like a mini milestone.
- Knowing that perfection is not the answer: I am not perfect and never will be. I make mistakes, feel regret sometimes, and wish I'd handled situations differently. All any of us can do is remain aware and work to switch our responses in the future.
- Acceptance: I've been working to accept myself as I am, to embrace physical imperfections, and to resist judgement (towards myself and towards others). Whenever I feel the urge to judge anyone else, I remember the quote: "be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
So, happy 2012! My only resolution is to resist becoming static: if I can keep striving, exercising, researching, and challenging my habits and assumptions, I'll be happy. Slow and steady progress is key, friends. Who's excited to keep moving?!