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Rethinking New Year's Resolutions


I have a complicated relationship with the New Year and the practice of New Year’s Resolutions. I absolutely adore opening a crisp, un-touched calendar and penciling in birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates. Since I was a teenager, I have loved the ritual of taking time to reflect on the previous year, to intentionally decide what things I’ll leave behind and what I’ll take with me. With hope and possibility, I set intentions, both big and small – I’ll be promoted to Associate Professor. I’ll publish a paper. I’ll plant a vegetable garden. I’ll knit an adult-sized sweater.


Every year I also find myself throwing in a few fantasies to the goal-setting process. THIS is the year I’ll do a 2-minute plank every morning before the kids wake up. Or prepare a vegan dinner three times each week. Or meditate every single night before bed. And then, inevitably, sometime in January or February I fail to meet one of these unrealistic expectations that I’ve set. This quickly leads to me feeling bad about myself, and the whole thing goes out the window.


So this year, I’m doing goal setting differently. I will still open a beautiful new calendar and pencil in important dates. And I will savor that process – I may even throw in some color with the new set of pens that Santa brought my daughter. But instead of setting action-oriented resolutions about WHAT I’LL DO in 2022, I’m spending time thinking about WHO I’LL BECOME. Here’s what I’ve got: I will have my own back, believe fiercely in myself, and worry less about what others think. I will meet myself and others with curiosity and love.


I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2022.