It probably won’t surprise you that I have “issues” with New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s because I have a complicated relationship with “expectations”. For me, expectations lead to disappointment.
I’ve had to learn to “let go” many times in my life. I’ve let go of what I expected my life to look like – who I’d become – what I’d be doing. I’ve let go of my definition of success – for myself and others. I’ve let go of the idea of a “neat and tidy” life in exchange for a very messy and complicated one.
I’m also working to let go of comparisons. Who doesn’t look at a friend’s Facebook vacation, latest accomplishment or achievement, “perfect” kids, “perfect” family, “perfect” life and have FOMO? Is there really a “perfect” life? I doubt it. Sometimes it just looks that way to me. Perhaps I’m just longing for the days when I could dress my young kids in matching outfits and our days were simpler and life was less complicated? Days I felt more “in control”?
Here's another option for New Year's resolutions – think of the mantras/mottoes that guide/shape you. There is much that my friend Ann Klotz says that resonates with me. This piece she wrote for the New Year in 2016 is still one of my favorites. In 2016 I was embracing the mantra "dare to fail gloriously. This motto is attributed to the legendary acting teacher Michael Chekhov ... now it’s crossed over from my days as a drama teacher into my leadership at a girls’ school. If you’re going to take a risk, don’t hold back. Be bold. This is a particularly good motto for high-achieving, potentially risk-averse girls." (OK, let's face it – it's good for ALL of us!)
This year, I’m going to pick a word to guide my year. It’s a catchy concept, that Melinda Gates captures perfectly. My word? It won’t surprise you – it’s going to be COURAGE. I rely on courage every day to take risks and face my fears. Courage is the “strength in the face of pain or grief”.
Whether you made New Year's resolutions … opted for a mantra … picked a word ... set some goals ... or created an intention … the first step is absolutely COURAGE to let go. Let go of expectations … let go of bad habits … let go of negativity.
Remember, you've got this AND you are never alone.
Founder and Executive Director