Resolving to Cease Resolutions
We all do it. Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions, and every year, we fail to keep them. It’s part of human nature. We make promises to ourselves or to loved ones that we can’t keep. Inevitably, we feel guilty. We wish that we had made a better promise, a better bang for the beginning of a (hopefully) fantastic new year. We sigh, pout, and give up, waiting for the moment in the next year when we can make a new resolution that we will most (probably) definitely keep.
It can be hard to start a new year. We all want to make it memorable. It’s wonderful to get a new start but at the same time, it puts a lot of pressure on us. There’s a feeling of urgency. If we don’t do everything right this time, we may never do it, and that will leave us in the same rut that we have always been in. The guilt can become fear in these moments, keeping us stagnant and pulling us back from our necessary progress.
There are different resolutions. A lot of people promise to be more fit in the New Year (as you are participating and reading a yoga blog here, you are already a little ahead of the curve). Others promise to restrain from activities they deem to be harmful; they’ll drink less, eat less gluten, eat less synthetic sugars, quit smoking, etc. Some people make personal resolutions to spend more time with the people they love most, work harder on their career, or find a special person that they can share the rest of their lives with. Every type of resolution is important to the resolution-maker, so it’s very heartbreaking when we rise into the following year to find that we have not kept our sacred, personal promises.
On January 1st this year, I had tea with a friend. We were chatting about the regular, goofy things when she leaned in and posed the fatal question; “What was your New Year’s resolution?” I had been semi-expecting her to ask, but I wasn’t prepared with a response. I looked her in the eye for a moment and in a flash, I came up with the winning response; “To stop making New Year’s resolutions,” I said.
We laughed. At first, I thought that I was merely being clever, but as allowed for it to sink in, I realized that I had inadvertently made the perfect resolution. In the beginning of every New Year, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be better. Inspired by the idea of a new beginning, we charge forward, expecting to manifest our heart’s desire with the simplicity of a few, choice words. Our resolutions became the quick fix of the day, and with all the expectation aimed at becoming better, we inevitably let ourselves down. In reality, the goal of being better is as simple as not making a resolution at all. It’s achieved by just being gentle with ourselves.
If you want to cut out gluten, by all means, go for it! If you’d like to quite smoking this year, all the power to you. If you want to become fitter and healthier, the Universe will support you, but don’t beat yourself up if you decide to smoke a cigarette when stress comes knocking at your door. It greatest disservice you can do to yourself is to not be kind, and that includes kindness to yourself as well as others.
In this New Year, remember that a resolution is only a word. You are the key to your happiness. By practicing gentleness with yourself, you are already in the game to making not just the next year great, but the subsequent ones as well. Celebrate your victories and failures with an open heart and mind. I think that is a resolution that we can all be excited about keeping.
Contributing author: Lauren Messervey.
Lauren is the social media coordinator for Yoga Tree. An avid Yogi with a love for Tree Pose, she is originally from Atlantic Canada and joined the bustling city of Toronto in June of last year. You may find her in the Midtown region, practicing Yoga or blogging for Yoga Tree. She is currently completing her first novel, set to be released Spring 2014.