The end of December: a season of long, dark nights, cold weather, and a bunch of holidays that try to make us feel better but often end up making us actually feel worse. Then New Year’s Eve gets piled on top of it all, with it’s cheerful dollar store hats, flutes of cheap champagne, and protestant-hangover pressure to change everything about our lives in one epic Resolution.
After the mountains of turkey and chocolate and family relations driving us to drink, what do you think we’ll resolve to do?
It’s the Most Depressing Time of the Year. Let’s change bloody everything. Especially the turkey and chocolate.
We decide we’ll cleanse. Excercise more. Clean out the closet. Buy things. Stop buying things. Give up alcohol and sugar and everything fun. Become a different human.
There is a deranged hope that comes with the New Year that we are entering into a whole new world, and everything can be better now. We can throw out the entire last year of our lives and become new again no matter what’s been going on. As a certain celebriyogi who will not be named tweeted (twice) on Christmas day, it’s time for a NEW CORE AND A NEW YOU!
Right. So I unfollowed her.
I don’t need a new core, and I don’t need a new me. What I do need to do is spend these darker days with a little quiet, take time to rest and think (and yeah, exercise, but nicely, not so hard I sweat out half my body weight and give myself a brain aneurysm). I need to give myself a chance to be alone and look at the last year of my life and think about what I learned. Resolutions made under exhausted, sugar-low, extended-family-fried stress don’t stick, and they prevent us from making any real change in our lives.
If we take these darker days as a time to reflect and look back on what happened in the past that brought us to the present moment, we can accept and love ourselves in all our turkey-stuffed glory and consider what we want to cultivate over the next cycle (of the moon, if not the whole year, which is a lot of pressure).
And doing that is no work at all. It’s four simple questions that are really four ways of saying the same thing:
What is important to me in my life?
What do I truly love?
What is meaningful to me?
What am I grateful for?
If you know the answer to those questions, there’s no need for any resolutions. These are your core values, your goals, your loves, and there’s no need to motivate you to follow them because following them is the most natural thing in the world. Repeat after me: I am doing great. It’s true: You are. Look how far you’ve come.
If you take the time to understand your past on some level, and see how it brought you to this (wine and self-pity soaked) moment, then you have choices in the future. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it; if you understand your past, you can move on. Pretend it doesn’t exist and you will repeat the same patterns over and over, no matter how many New Year’s resolutions you make.
And then you can ask a harder question:
What do I need to let go of to make space for what I truly love?
Ponder that over a Ferrero Rocher.
Hint: It’s probably not the Ferrero Rocher.