Normally, I’m one of those people who make a lot of resolutions. They’re actually short and long term goals in disguise, but the New Year makes them feel a bit more magical. Plus, when you make a list of 20 or more things you want to do in a year and then only accomplish a third or even half of those, that’s still something. I can’t say I didn’t accomplish anything in 2020 since a lot of my major milestones happened, but I think we can all say we’ve learned a lesson in putting too much pressure on ourselves in “unprecedented times.”
So, this year, I’m not going to make a list of things I want to do or plans or hopes. I’m not going to make empty promises to myself or others. I’m not going to imagine this year will all of a sudden be better just because we have a new calendar. No, I’m only going to make one resolution which will cover everything.
I will do my best.
And, yes, I intentionally phrased it that way because I had Yoda in my head saying, “Do or do not. There is no try.” So I’m not going to try my best; I’m going to do my best. Every day. This seems like a pretty reasonable resolution to me, because it’s my best. Not my mom’s, not my friend’s, not a stranger’s—mine. Sometimes that fluctuates, and that’s okay. What is considered ‘my best’ on Monday may be different than on Friday because of a variety of factors. I think being flexible in these times is key, but being kind to yourself is never a bad thing.
If I accomplish even one thing a day—whether it’s blogging, doing the dishes, teaching a class, reading a book, etc.—then that’s something. If I can build habits by doing a little each day instead of putting so much pressure on myself to be a “new me” because it’s a New Year then that’s all the better. I’m not a different person than I was in 2020. I’m not really interested in becoming one either. What I do want is to continue living to the best of my ability, try some new things, enjoy some old favorites, and have some fun. I can do all those general things and still accomplish all those usual resolutions.
Doing my best can take so many forms across every aspect of my life: self-care, hobbies, work, writing, socializing, chores, health, etc. There’s that old adage that if something takes less than five minutes to do you should do it immediately; well, in a way, doing my best is kind of like that. It will take me less five minutes to figure out what part of my day will move me toward being “my best.” Everything after that is dominos and confetti.
We put so much pressure on ourselves in the New Year. We have to improve mentally, physically, spiritually, socially…Continually. It’s exhausting. No wonder people burnout on their resolutions so fast. I thought that having a long list of things to accomplish in the year was the solution to this. If 2020 taught me anything it was that sometimes it doesn’t matter if you want something or work toward it because forces beyond your control will laugh in your face. So, in 2021, I only have one resolution and I’ll do my best to see it through till the end of the year.