Recently, someone asked me about my New Year’s Resolutions, and I said I hadn’t gotten around to making them yet. I also said I don’t feel I’m a very resolute person, so I prefer to call them “goals” instead of resolutions. What I didn’t tell this person is that I’m not very good at goals either.
You should hear the conversations I have with myself in my head. The arguments, the bargaining, the blatant disregard for my own decisions. I’m like my own teenager. This mostly concerns exercise.
I say, “Okay, no chocolate until you go for a run.” Then my other voice goes, “Well, you’ll probably go for a run later, but have chocolate now.” As I’m munching on the chocolate, I realize that I don’t want to go for a run and instead I’d like to watch four episodes of whatever television show I can find. Right around hour 3.5, the self-loathing sets in and I wonder why I can’t do anything right. Cue more chocolate-eating.
Basically, I’m an anxious, avoidant, commitment-phobic chocoholic incapable of setting goals, and making resolutions is hard. But you knew that already. On to 2013.
First, the resolutions of a non-resolute individual. Because I don’t care for numbers, I try to keep them out of this. Also I fear definitive statements, so I stay away from those too. So, we’re left with words.
Two words have come to mind for 2013, and I’m not thrilled about either of them. I mean, I like their meanings, and I use them fairly regularly. I can spell both of them. But I’d prefer if they were words like “cake” (as in “eat more”) or “television” (and in “watch all the”). Now those resolutions I would keep. But where’s the fun in that?
Word #1: Yes.
Two years ago, I clung to the word “brave,” and I still do. I try not to think of it as being brave, because being brave scares me. But I need to be brave every day, because it seems like the world is getting meaner and darker every second.
Being brave includes the word “yes,” as in saying yes to things: things I’m not sure I’ll like, and things that might be hard. Last year, I said yes to teaching. I said yes to volunteering. To speaking. So I’ve started the journey of saying “yes,” but I know it’ll continue to be a journey.
Still, along with saying yes comes saying no. Because we all only have 24 hours in the day (except for those of us with Time Turners, amiright?), so to say yes to something means saying no to something else. I want to be intentional about what I do and how I spend my time. I want my choices to mean something, to be life-giving—for me and for others. I already know that I require more silence than most, and that’s a good thing to say yes to. But it’s also good to have some raucous laughter in my life every once in a while. So balances of yeses and noes.
Which leads me to the other word.
Word #2: Savor (or savour, if you’re from someplace cooler than America).
This word surprised me recently. It’s not one I use often—probably because I’m not good at it. But I found it in a book written by two lovely people, the McMinns, who live on a farm called Fern Creek and wrote about it in Dirt and the Good Life. One of the essays uses the word a few times, and then I couldn’t help but see the theme throughout the book: savoring the simple life, the dirt, the onions and the strawberries.
I often say I wish I loved the journey, but honestly I really just like arriving. I don’t like running; I like having run already. I like finishing a book, a series, or a project. I like putting my laundry away, my groceries away, my clutter away. I like things to be done.
Savoring is not about things finishing. It’s about things happening, and enjoying them.
Because I’m so focused on end goals, I will marathon a television show. Or read a book for five hours. I will eat my food quickly, and I will time how quickly I can do my errands, stacking them up right next to each other. And I forget to enjoy these things.
So my goal is to savor one thing a day. Just one. Not everything—Lord knows I’m not often among the starry-eyed, the often-amazed, who go throughout the day marveling at cracks in the sidewalk or blades of grass. I’ll just look for one thing a day to write in my journal, one thing to focus in on, find the joy and the beauty in, be fully present with.
Hopefully it won’t always be my nightly cup of tea.
So that’s it this year, folks: Yes (and no) and savor. I wish you well on your journeys toward change and new life as we welcome in this new year (two weeks ago, I know, I know). We’re all going to end up somewhere different than where we started; let’s make it be somewhere better than where we are now.
Happy New Year.
Do tell: what are your resolution/goals/promises for this year?