"I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions,” she said, smugly.
Oh wait. Crap. “She” is me. To my credit, I’ve caught a lot of other people doing this too. Why have resolutions suddenly become so annoying? I’m guessing we are annoyed with ourselves for not having already done that thing we would resolve to do, if we were so inclined.
Instead of taking it out on myself, I just get annoyed with other people who are pretending to reject the resolution. And then I realize that the annoyance has nothing to do with them. That’s definitely me being annoyed with me. Recommended reading: The Monster at the End of this Book (featuring Grover). You're gonna have to read Grover's book, written by Jon Stone, to find out why he hates New Year's resolutions. Or at least read this whole blog post.
Grover will be proud that I am definitely NOT doing a resolution this year.
Instead, I am, purely by coincidence, doing a 30-Day Yoga with Adriene Journey. It just happened to start on January 1st. In this interview, Adriene recalls with disgust that her first 30-Day Yoga “journey” got mislabeled as a “challenge.” Just like resolutions, “challenges” come with icky baggage. But a journey, that just so happens to align with the beginning of the year, is different. It’s not annoying at all. If I “fail” to do yoga for 30 days in a row (likely), it’s no big deal. I can just start where I stopped. Adriene won’t make me feel bad for missing a day. And because I haven’t committed to a resolution or a challenge, I won’t make myself feel bad for missing a day. P.S. Adriene’s videos are really great.
I can begrudgingly admit that there is something to the timing of New Year’s resolutions.
The obvious issue is that the New Year closely tails “the holidays.” No matter which holiday you follow, this likely comes with eating lots and lots of crap. Plus, 2019 made it extra hard to keep any kind of schedule, or even know what day it was. In addition to the gym’s weird holiday hours, I’m pretty sure we had several extra Mondays and Fridays this year. And what even happened to Tuesday? Tuesday must have been on vacation.
Beyond the holiday effect, the New Year also marks time in a big way. It makes us remember that time is moving along. When we remember that time is moving along, that another year passed, we start to feel like we had better get a jumpstart on all those things we really wanted to be doing. Like eating green things, running marathons, or saving money. I like to listen to the Psychic Teachers Podcast and in this episode, Samantha points out that we have a similar buildup of energy to make changes when our birthday comes around.
Since my 30-day yoga journey is definitely NOT a resolution, I will make a different one just to be a good sport.
My resolution is to quit paying attention to the word resolution and get on with life in whatever way I see fit. Day by day. This means that I cannot be a perfectionist. I am absolutely not allowed to judge myself if a miss a day with Adriene. If I start doing that b.s. again, I will look longingly at my yoga mat and think I’ve screwed up for the rest of eternity. If I couldn’t do the challenge (I mean journey), I might as well just give up and watch Netflix. But guess what: Adriene will be there tomorrow! So will I.
Side note for all of you who work a graveyard shift: Adriene is waiting for you, there on YouTube, with free yoga, whenever it fits into your schedule.
Back in the day, several New Years ago, when I worked as an advocate for survivors of violence, I went to a conference. The keynote speaker was Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and she told us two things that stuck with me: (1) have a plan B and (2) have a daily practice. She counseled us to have a daily self-care practice to help us keep sane in the midst of our challenging workday. This could be as simple as paying attention to our food when we eat lunch, bite by bite. The most important part of the daily practice was the rule that each day is a new day. No one is keeping score about how well we did our daily practice or whether we did it yesterday. It is meant as a safe space to remember that we are human. After you take five minutes to read about the Grover's plight, check out Laura’s book: Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. If you’re a manager, get a copy of Trauma Stewardship for everyone on your team.
(Oooooh! I just saw that Laura has a new one out called The Age of Overwhelm: Strategies for the Long Haul. Go ahead and pick that one that one up too.)
Spoiler Alert (I really think you should get the book, but here goes.)
For those of you who won't take the pleasure of checking out Grover's insightful book, here's a spoiler alert: Grover is terrified because he heard there is a monster at the end of the book. So he builds walls out of different materials of varying strength. Each of them is busted down. Then he comes to find out that, all along, HE was the monster at the end of the book. Grover hates New Year's resolutions because he knows you based yours on a big scary monster that doesn't actually exist. Just like Grover, your monster is actually very lovable.
Okay...it’s time for me to stop typing because I have a full night ahead of me. I get to learn how to use the snow plow, make dinner, and do Day 5 of the definitely-not-a-resolution yoga journey.
Tell me about your super annoying not-resolution. Or your lovable monster.
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