I truly cannot think of a time that I have ever made or been into New Year’s Resolutions. If anything, I’ve always been the grinch of resolutions. It bothered me that, like clockwork come the first of the New Year, yoga classes were overpacked, parking at trailheads would be chronically full, and grocery store lines were longer than ever just because everyone decided to resolve themselves to health. For the first two to three weeks of the year, that is. Then, without fail three to four weeks in, we would be back to normal capacity in yoga class, parking at almost any trail was no longer an issue, and I would be free to shop my local market leisurely. Sound familiar? It’s the curse of the New Year’s Resolution.
Let’s unpack this a little bit. Because a few things are going on here.
First and foremost, January—at least in the Northern Hemisphere—is not the time of year to bring anything into fruition. The dead of winter is a time to go inwards. It’s a time to heal, to rest, to recuperate…and maybe even to dream of what you want to bring into this world in the spring. It’s not a time to force yourself to do or try anything new. It’s a time to be.
Second, there is no such thing as a New Year’s start. If you want to start doing something new, you, and only you, will know when the time is right. It does not matter what our calendar year or advertisements on social media say.
Three, societal programming has put so much pressure on us to “make a change.” Trust me when I say this, you are enough as you are right now.
So, what is one to do as we approach 2022?
You could do nothing (yes, I said it) and instead work with the moon. Creating a new moon and full moon ritual to practice monthly is a ritual I love. The new moon is a monthly time to seed intention, while the full moon is a time to release and let flow.
That said, if you’re anything like me—a lover of ritual and routine—you can follow the lunar cycle and also incorporate a “word of the year” that links back to it all. I started doing this on the cusp of 2019 and 2020, which is quite funny in hindsight after seeing how 2020 played out. Every single card I would pull leading up to 2020 had the word surrender in it. So when the clock struck midnight on the first of January 2020, I decided my word of the year would be surrender. Whenever I felt lost or confused in an aspect of my life, I would take a moment, come back to my breath, and find the word. As we made it through the crazy that was 2020, I put a little bit more time and intention into my 2021 word. I landed on trust. Which has helped me in more ways than I can count. I trusted my instinct in career and partnership and am closing out the year in a place that feels nourishing—with a new doula practice blooming and a new home with my partner.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my 2022 word lately. As I’ve been talking about the upcoming article I needed to write (ahem, this one) with friends, what kept coming up was: be. To be with myself, to be with anyone I’m sharing time with, to be in the present moment. I have a tendency—as I’m sure most of us do—to be thinking about where I’m going to be two steps (or even two months or years) ahead of where I am currently. Formulating a New Year’s resolution is at the crux of future-ing one’s life away—it points out what isn’t “right” now and where one wants to be when they’re “in a better place.” What happens when we bring awareness, acceptance, and maybe even a little joy, compassion, or forgiveness to the present moment? We could just be.
Where do you stand on New Year’s Resolutions? And if you’re not a resolution maker will you take on this new ritual of a singular word? If you’re open to it, I’d love to hear it below in the comments or over on IG.