Friday, January 7, 2022

New Year's Resolutions or Aspirations?

As a teacher, I celebrate a new year in August and in January. I welcome the opportunity to do something better, to commit to a healthy habit, to resign the bad ones and see what might change. I realize a lot of people don't necessarily feel this way.

By now, you've heard it more than once. When asked about their New Year's resolution, a friend or family member replies, "My resolution is to not make any resolutions." Insert canned laughter here. I always think of myself, "that's too bad."

Country music star, Kelsea Ballerini shared

“Y’all. I've spent the last few days writing pages and pages of things I want to do to ‘better’ myself, my body, my relationships, my career, my life this year. PAGES. And then I realized that was only going to bring more anxiety and unrealistic expectations into my world and I just don’t have the room for it this year. I ripped those pages out. Now, I'm focused on doing my damn best.”

Ok. That's a start. But how might that happen? How do we get there? Who points the way? To me, a new year's resolution provides a framework for not only achieving but committing oneself to doing their damn best. Whether it's eating one piece of fruit a day, reading for 22 minutes or walking more steps, a new year's resolution invites us to reflect upon who we are and who we would like to be.

If you're still not convinced, Dynamic Catholic offered what I found to be an invitational distinction to the January game. They wrote: 

Don't Make a List of Resolutions. Make a list of Aspirations.

It’s hard to change old habits. It’s even harder to create new ones. We tell ourselves we’ll wake up earlier in the morning, but the alarm goes off and all we can think about is the cold air and the warm bed. And if we’re not careful, making the wrong choice is easy. 

But when you make a list of aspirations, you open your eyes to new possibilities. You awaken your deepest yearnings, and inspire yourself to make small, powerful changes. Instead of thinking about the difficulties, you focus on the dreams you have for your life.

Is it helpful to your to make this distinction? Is a list of aspirations less intimidating? It's a thought.

Since I am such a both/and person, I decided that my 22 for 2022 list would include both aspirations and resolutions. Yes, I have resolved to play 22 new golf courses and go to Mass at 22 new churches. And, thanks to this template created by Gretchen Rubin, I know how 20 aspirations. She describes it this way

Tired of making New Year’s resolutions? Looking for a new, creative way to identify your aims for 2022? Try making a “22 for 2022” list. List twenty-two things you'd like to do by the end of the year. These items can be easy or ambitious, one-time undertakings or habits that stretch for years. There’s no one right way to make your list—just think about what you want the new year to hold. Onward!
On her podcast Happier Episode 359, Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Kraft discuss each item on their list for 2022. As a loyal listener, I know that come August, they will share their progress. And before the year comes to a close, Gretch and Elizabeth reveal if they have successfully checked the box or not. Call it a day of reckoning, but I know the visual tool and their testimonies breed success. Furthermore, an accountability partner is important. Finding my own, might be worth listing as an aspiration for the year.

I write about aspirations and resolutions because yes, a good number will involve sports and spirituality. In fact, I have not yet concluded my own list and am still considering if it is public domain. But one important item on that list is prompting my next blog post. Stay tuned and in the mean time aspire away!

Photo Credits
My 22 for 2022

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