I’m not very big on resolutions. I’m more of a “have a few drinks/get contemplative/make deals with myself” sort-of gal, which sounds hilarious when I type it out (yet is the complete truth).
When I was in my early 20s, I went to the local bar — The Green Door — and proceeded to have a few beers. I was chatting with a friend when a guy walked buy wearing a t-shirt that read, “Don’t Die Wondering,” which got me to thinking, “If I knew I was going to die, what would I wonder about?”
That train of drunk-think led me to determine that, if presented with the opportunity to go sky-diving, I would wonder if I would freely jump or if I would have to be pushed out? I resolved to find out before my 25th birthday, and immediately met another friend who — what else? — sky dives and was at the bar listening to me. He promised to take me to Skydive Delmarva, and we made plans to take my sober butt up in a plane with the intent of leaving said plane on a trajectory to the ground with only a tandem instructor and a parachute to intercede.
So, it turns out I didn’t jump nor did I get pushed — we rocked backward and then pitched forward into the atmosphere. (I thought we were going on the count of three, but no dice. We fell forward on ONE.) It was awesome and exhilarating and terrifying and, according to my sensitive ears, painful. 60 seconds of pure adrenaline. But when the parachute canopy opened there was this immediate silence — no more roaring wind — and I could talk to my instructor in a normal voice. Peaceful, I remember thinking. It was a clear day with low humidity, and he pointed out Ocean City as we slowly fell toward an impressionists’ painting of farmland.
Last year, I couldn’t make up my mind about my hair. Cut it or let it grow long? I was so stuck and unable to make a decision, that I made another deal with myself: I am not allowed to cut my hair until I lose 10 pounds. Thankfully, I’m not yet completely over the whole long-hair thing. (But when I do get completely fed up with it, I know that it’ll be go time on that other several-years-going resolution to get back to my pre-grad school weight.)
This year, I didn’t even contemplate whether or not I wanted to come up with new years resolutions. I hate the guilt that comes with not keeping up with something I’ve resolved myself to do. On the other hand, I’m vaguely aware that if I’m wheeling and dealing against myself it’s basically the same thing, but it feels different. Perhaps because there’s not a deadline attached to all of my deals. They can be more of an “If THAT, then THIS” situation. Something will either happen or it won’t happen, and there’s no point in feeling guilty either way.
Today I stumbled across a different kind of New Years list though… one that I think is quite brilliant: a non-goal list. Blogger Erin describes non-goals as “action items that I’ve already put into practice, or things about myself that I want to stay the same this year. It’s my way of praising the good habits I’ve formed over a lifetime, or maybe just over the past few weeks.”
In the spirit of praising oneself and embracing positive personal aspects, here are my 2012 non-goals:
- You value your friendships, putting a lot of time, consideration and mileage into maintaining them. Keep it up, but don’t forget to save something for yourself.
- You are introspective and try to take responsibility for all of your actions, reactions and thoughts.
- Good job last year in setting up some automatic savings measures with your limited funds. Keep working towards paying off your debt and increasing your savings. It will make you feel great once you get an even better handle on your finances.
- You’ve managed to overcome a variety of Big Things in the past several years. Remember that even if those moments were stressful, you survived them and came out smiling.
- Great job managing the purchase of things you need, things you want and things you have to have. You make smarter decisions than you give yourself credit for.
- You stepped outside of your comfort zone and have cooked up some pretty tasty dinners for yourself (and friends). Keep experimenting with good-for-you foods and learning to eat in a way that makes you feel healthy and happy.
- You’re making an effort to say “Yes” more often, instead of sticking with activities and experiences that are known and comfortable. Go you!
What are some of your non-goals? Do you set resolutions or make deals with yourself? How do you encourage yourself to accomplish your goals, and how do you celebrate once you’ve met them?
Happy New Year, everyone! Be kind to yourself!