Ringing in the New Year without Old Resolutions


By Kate Kole

I am a New Year’s resolution pro. Not in that I successfully keep to all the resolutions I set, but rather, in that I’m really practiced in setting them. I’ve forever viewed those well-intentioned commitments as my opportunity to become a heathier, happier, more successful, and generally better person across all boards. Resolutions satisfy the perfection craving part of my soul.

After all, January 1 is the quintessential day to start anew. It’s a fresh month, a blank calendar, an empty planner full of promise, just awaiting the pages to be filled. So, year after year, I readily accept the challenge. I write down my resolutions to do more, to do differently, to learn a new skill, or master an old one. And of course, none of those things are intrinsically bad or wrong for me to desire. Don’t we all ultimately want to become the best version of ourselves?

Where this line of thinking becomes problematic, however, is that so often my perfection driven goals are about creating a pretty picture from the outside in. They’re surface level, number based resolutions that I hope will lead to a shiny, flawless life. A life removed from the bigger, lingering questions of whether I’m doing, achieving, and in an overall sense, being enough.

I hold onto the idealistic hope that with keeping new commitments, I’ll instantaneously banish old feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. That with adding more to my life, there simply won’t be room for those enduring, icky thoughts to still exist. And yet, deep down I know that those enduring, icky thoughts aren’t surface level things to magically disappear, and so, no fitness regimen, healthy eating plan, organizational technique, or stress management skill is going to matter, create meaning, or make my life better if I don’t deal with the inside stuff first.

With that, I’ve officially decided, 2017 is the year for me to finally get around to cleaning out the big walk-in closet of my life. It’s the time to get rid of the old, unsettling beliefs that don’t serve me (and quite frankly, never really fit) before I even consider bringing in something new to try on. This coming year is my time to simplify, let go, and see if maybe less is more as I make space for the best me. The best me that isn’t contingent on a number on the scale, a size on a tag, an organized sock drawer, or a numerical value on a check, but that delves so much deeper than that.

Even now, after typing those words out, I can still feel the nagging and seemingly never-ending itch of temptation to be more sneak its way into my mind space. Yet, I know that what I need most is to wake up each day and to give up what’s holding me back. Before I can become more confident, I need to stop talking myself out of opportunities. Before I can preach self-love, I’ve got to stop talking shit about myself to myself. Before I can feel good enough as I am, I have to let go of the illusion of perfection.  Before I can extend grace to the people I love, I have to give myself a break. Before I can look to others to validate that my words are worth reading, my classes are worth taking, and my presence is worth keeping, I have to believe – to know – in my own heart that they are.

Now is the time to sort through the layers that already exist, and actively get curious about what’s getting in the way of the good stuff, what’s keeping me from showing up in relationships, loving more, trusting the moment, having faith in the future, expressing appreciation, choosing joy, and from living my best life. Then, it’ll be time to intentionally choose to let it go. To lighten what’s weighing on my soul, heart, and mind before turning to my outward body.

Maybe once I’ve cleared and ditched the excess junk, I’ll even discover that I don’t really need a slew of resolutions anyway. Perhaps I’ll find that everything I’m searching for and adding on to my life is already there, I just have to sort through the old bins of resentment, comparison, jealousy, judgment, worry, and fear first.

It’s time to minimalize – not just my things – but my thoughts. To declutter, let go, make space and then finally, to be the best version of who I already am.

{featured image via pexels}