Relinquishing New Year’s Resolutions
Please relax come midnight on New Year’s Eve. Keep life in perspective and focus on happiness and growth and being around those you care about.
I have decided that I will not make any “New Year’s Resolutions” this year. I have made these annual promises to myself for as long as I can remember. It finally dawned on me (I’m a late bloomer, don’t judge me) that to sit down and make a list of things I want or need to do to become a “better person” because the first day of the Gregorian calendar is imminent puts way too much pressure on people. Not to mention, 2020 reinforces the adage that whenever we make plans, God has a hearty laugh at our expense!
First and foremost, a better person? Better compared to what? To whom? When we say, we want to be better, we are suggesting we are not good enough. But by whose standard, society’s? Last I checked, society en masse is riddled with its own frailties and should probably not cast too many stones. Resolutions are misguided. There is a considerable difference between knowing and accepting that we are a work in progress, then programming ourselves to believe that some commonly accepted, socially influenced changes will help mask our issues; issues that will take a lot more to resolve than a list of empty affirmations made on what is just another day. Ironically, suppose we do not accomplish all the goals that we set for ourselves. In that case, we continue a cycle of disappointment that will only dampen any hope or desire to finally make a difference in our lives. It’s bad enough when others break their promises; breaking a promise to ourselves is just downright debilitating.
I will stop smoking, I will exercise more, I will stop procrastinating, I will stop eating out as often, I will date more, date less, I will write a book, I will save/invest more money. All that is great, but will any of that truly make you happy? Content? Peaceful? Fulfilled? Because unless you can finally submit heart and soul to one or all of these balanced states of mind, it won’t matter how fit you are, who is in your life, or how much money you have in the bank. There will be a void. In order to fill emptiness, you have to alter more than your lifestyle. You have to amend the way you look at life. Don’t just stop smoking. Stop smoking because you value your life and your health, and you want to have a future. Don’t just get fit. Exercise because you respect that your body is a temple (It’s a biblical reference, so please, no rolling of the eyes).
Don’t just save money. Save and invest to improve your way of life, and secure your future, so you spend less time being unhappy and concerned and more time living a fulfilling life. Any decision you make or goal you set from this point on should be based solely on your desire to fully accept who you are and an understanding of why you matter.
I have come a long way from where I was mentally, physically, and emotionally. My family is growing. I am closer than ever to my daughter Ashley, getting to know our baby girl Britny, and I get to spend the rest of my life with my soulmate. My parents continue to be a bastion of strength. My friendships are even dearer to me. This has been a year of growth, learning, healing, discipline, and enlightenment in the face of hardship, sadness, disappointment, and sickness, and I would not change a thing. My faith became stronger as I drew closer to God, and I would not change a thing. I now know who and what matters in life, how to weed out the bad and sow the good, and I would not change a thing. I’ve let go, forgiven, moved on, and I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life (challenges as well as victories because I learn from and appreciate both). I’m even more grateful that God granted me another year to realize these advancements. That said, I can’t make any resolutions for 2021 because, quite frankly, no one is promised another day, so another year is an even greater presumptuous stretch! However, I will remember everything I learned this past year (and the years prior) and do my absolute best each day to apply this knowledge to my day-to-day growth. I want to share the lessons that have helped me make it through another year, hoping they may be of some help if and when you ever need some direction. Perhaps (I am hoping) some of these hard-won lessons may help you navigate life’s challenges at some point. That alone would make the struggles even more worthwhile.
- You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. I know this because I am still standing despite anyone’s best efforts (including my own) to hurt me or convince me I am not worthy. If I can overcome, Lord knows you can.
- Success is constant. Any time you achieve more than you did the day before, the year before; any time you add a piece to the framework that will someday determine your ultimate goal, you have achieved some degree of success. It’s a process.
- Disregarding “signs” or ignoring your instincts is detrimental to emotional, mental, and spiritual growth (Which in turn can hurt you physically. The body does not respond favorably to stress and unrest). Don’t pray for wisdom, clarity, focus, or “signs” if you only plan to overlook them. If it feels bad, it probably is.
- No one is to blame for your suffering, sadness, misery, anger, or disappointment. We give people way too much power over our feelings and emotions. They may behave in ways that trigger these responses; however, the extent to which we allow these feelings to dominate our thinking, and ultimately, our lives is solely up to us. We choose to carry the cross for other people’s sins. You want peace of mind, surrender that surrogate burden, leave all resentment at the altar, and take your life back
- If you matter to someone, you will know it. Spending hours, days, and weeks of your valuable time, wondering if someone is thinking about you, cares about you, wants you in their life should be a reasonable indication that they probably do not. Now some people are just oblivious and have no clue they are not sending the right messages. If you want them bad enough, speak up. Maybe they just need a wake-up call. Still, if they are thinking about you, they should let you know. If they care about you, you will feel it. If they want you in their life (And you want them in yours), they will open the door with open arms and welcome you in. Your value in another person’s life is not negotiable. It is not up for discussion. Set the standard and stick to it
- Sometimes it is better to be single and happy than in a relationship void of love, respect, loyalty, and commitment. You MUST love yourself first. You MUST be comfortable with who you are. You MUST be confident about who you are and very clear about what you will accept. If someone comes along who can enhance that self-assurance, beautiful! Anyone who drains you, heart and soul, more than likely needs to go. And yes, I understand every relationship is different, and not everyone can just “up and leave.” However, the need (want) for companionship does not mean you must forsake your mental and emotional well-being. Please do whatever you have to do to preserve either. If you do not consider anything else, consider this: You are a child of God, the Creator, the Almighty. With that lineage, you must know that you are not built for mediocrity in any sense of the word
- Most times, it’s not that we can’t; it’s that we won’t, or we are too afraid to even try. Fear limits us. Uncertainty limits us. Doubt limits us. We have to get out of our own way to reach our chosen destination
- As we make our way toward our goals, we will face challenges. We will face loss. We will encounter change. We may be forced to adapt. It’s never one straight shot from point A to point Z on the road to success! If you think that is the case, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If we accept that obstacles are a reality, we will be better equipped to deal with them. If you know that you have difficulty handling adversity, don’t worry about “exercising” more; focus on building your emotional and mental fortitude
- Pray. Hard. Every day. Even on good days. Be thankful; be humble; be repentant; be faithful. And mean every word, and back it up with actions
- We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up so much we are too battered and bruised to get up and fight! We will meet enough people and face ample circumstances that will gut check us mercilessly, so why be another pugilist in that battle? Seriously, just be a good person. Be honest, be loyal, and be kind. Love those who love you and be compassionate towards those who don’t. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t know how to change, seek help. If you know how to make effective life-affirming changes, help someone do the same. Appreciate what you have and stop worrying about what you don’t. Work hard, set goals, remain focused. Accept that you are human, and you may stumble and sin and be a downright jerk sometimes. You curse in the car, yell at each other, you dislike people. But when you are less than “Christian,” just take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this the person I want to be?” “Is this who I want my children to emulate?” “Can I do better?” How you answer is absolutely up to you but remember, you need to be happy with your answer. You need to believe that you are doing the best you can and be ok with that. That is the only way you will have peace of mind and the strength to persevere.
Ultimately, it’s all subjective. Don’t worry about the next person, and just work on being the best person you can be. Thank you for being a part of my life. God has blessed me immeasurably with your beautiful spirits!
Have a Happy New Day, everyone…and have it today, tomorrow, and on the many days which may lie ahead).