Who Said January Was The Beginning?
To condense resolutions into a list or a generic 'how to' is insolent to how different and limitless we each truly are.
Who was the one to decide that January of each year, had to be the beginning of everything? And why doesn’t anyone ever dare to ask if goals for the ending year were met and/or completed? It doesn’t matter where you find yourself, in what type of circle, in December someone will ask you: What are your New Year resolutions? Maybe you’re like me and hadn’t even thought about it.
It hadn't occurred to me because I make a list of goals at the beginning of each month throughout the year. At the end of each month, I am taking inventory. The point, for me, is to have more of the completed tasks done than what needs to roll over into the next 30 days. Sometimes I find myself crossing things out all together: things have changed, I’ll focus on this later. I make a note to revisit at another time.
So when I was asked the inevitable What are your New Year resolutions? I paused and realized that I hadn’t thought about the year on a grand scale. I had become comfortable in the space I created: taking life 30 days at a time. For me, it was about dedicating myself to always do what I love. Regardless whether it is March or September.
I hesitated, “I make my goals every month…so I don’t know.”
She said to me, “No. What is a goal for the entire year? Something you have to accomplish at some point in 2016?”
Maybe it was how she asked me on that specific day, but I truly started to think about it differently.
Considering that I’ve always organized my thoughts in 30 day increments, it isn’t the kind of question I ask myself often. This is a routine I won’t give up, by the way. It does help me meditate in what I love.
But what her question made me realize is that, it truly is a challenge to simply focus on one thing for a consistent 365 days. Your days become bombarded with life and suddenly you forget about the goals you set for yourself. This is the point in which I realized how to combine my 30 day thinking, with an ongoing 365 day plan, too.
With one evolution comes another and another.
There has to be at least one thing in my planner every month that will forever roll over. I have to work on it, little by little, every 30 days. I have to be there, front row, helping it grow; watching it evolve. Forever.
In a Forbes January 2013 article, Dan Diamond wrote that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year resolution by the end of the year. That is a small number. It is, I think, because many people aren’t pacing themselves. Finding my pace is what I love the most when I run. Is it too much to compare life with running?
According to Business Week, Americans spend $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products. New Year resolutions, of course, make January the diet industry’s biggest time. Advertisings utilize headlines that imply quick, fast results. It works for a lot of people because the beginning of the year has become a collective time of reflection.
What wonders would happen if we reflected every 30 days of every year?
Shonda Rhimes wrote her memoir, Year of Yes, because she was always an introvert. One year, however, she decided to step outside of herself by saying yes to things she normally wouldn’t. The experiment was instigated by her sister and in agreeing to it, she gives her reader access to explore and compare her life before and after the decision. A description of the book reads, “The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.” She sat on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and said she also discovered what she should be saying no to.
With one evolution comes another and another.
The most fascinating thing in this process, to me, is that it reveals how everyone is their own complete Universe. There are things that are important to you that aren’t to me. Some people will feel they need to become an oral surgeon while others may believe becoming a doctor is equivalent to failure. My close friend, although he was always a great student, the idea of medical school and living in a hospital made him woozy. His hair started to fall out until he gave his focus permission to shift. I also know someone who lives and breathes scientific cancer research. She is a graduate student at the University of South Florida and spends most of her time in a lab. It’s her happy place. I know someone who feels at home when in a classroom, standing in front of her students. And another who is passionate about organizing funerals and knowing that she’s helping a family during a time of mourning. She takes pride in delivering a service that will touch families in those final moments with a loved one.
These differences are what make us so unique. To condense resolutions into a list or a generic “how to” is insolent to how different and limitless we each truly are.
The two questions that should be asked in December are, rather, Did you complete your goals for the ending year? and How do you anticipate growing in the upcoming new one?