Happy New Year!! It is once again that time of year where people set goals to be better, fitter, nicer, healthier, more intentional, more prayerful, calmer, more peaceful, etc. Every other advertisement I see or hear is chanting the words, “New Year, New You,” and showing beautiful people. I am not judging, in fact, I have been a person that said New Year, New Me multiple times. I have set the goals that sounded great and were right in line with what other people were doing, and I have even been picking a word for the year for the past few years.
This year, I am just not feeling it. I keep questioning why it has to be a “New” me or a “New” you. Why are we setting goals for the pretty? Are we actually reflecting and thinking about how we could improve? Are we actually thinking about whether the goal we are setting is attainable? I teach students how to set SMART goals in one of my classes, and the things that I continually have to help them revise are Specific, Measurable, and Attainable. It seems like some of this push to be New is actually also pushing to not appreciate where you are and where you started.
In all actuality, after doing this new year, new person thing for all of these years, I want off this ride. I have finally, this year, started liking who I am more and recognizing all the things I have done and worked through to get to this point. Maybe it is because I turn 40 in just a couple weeks; maybe it is because I am finally in the career that I want to be in and I am doing the things I want to do; maybe it is because I am afraid to set another goal about getting fit that falls flat because of injury; or maybe I am just scared to set a goal in this weird time in which we are living. I don’t really know, but I do know that New Year, New Me (or You) is really rubbing me the wrong way this year.
But, where does that leave me? Can I just not do the resolution thing? Spoiler alert: I have really bad FOMO, so that probably isn’t an option. Can I just ignore the ads and the people around me? Spoiler alert #2: I’m not great at ignoring things that irritate my soul. So, what do I do now? And why does this bother me so much? I think it bothers me because I want myself (and others) to want to grow without losing what makes them uniquely them. I don’t want to turn into a new person, I just want to be a better version of this person. Heck, there are even some things that I think I do pretty well and don’t want to change. I think I will just keep the trend I have done for the past few years and choose a word for the year, set some goals to enhance the person that already exists, and then put my nose to the grindstone. The word thing is something I found several years ago (2020 – Intentional, 2019 – Pause, 2018 – Grace) and it is the thing that has helped me conquer the FOMO and try to focus on bettering myself. I got the idea from a friend, then quickly went and researched on blogs and OneWord365. For me, the word is always something that just comes to me during the last couple of weeks of the year for the next year. It sticks around in my head until I admit that is the word, then I try to set mini goals for myself with that word in mind. By mini-goals, I really mean little ones. Sometimes it is as simple as a goal to make myself stop and breathe with no work or music for 5 minutes a day for the next 5 days (Pause) or to eat lunch away from my desk (Intentional). They aren’t necessarily large words, and they are not necessarily large goals, but they are always things that allow me to feel like I am moving forward to becoming a better _____________ (fill in the blank with whatever thing I am trying to accomplish at that moment) while still maintaining who I am at my core.
So, this year, the word that kept coming to me was Routine. To be totally honest, I hated it. It sounds boring and unimaginative, and I just couldn’t think of any way to jazz up routine. I also knew deep down that I really needed to work on establishing better routines in my life to keep me from being overwhelmed. I thought about it some more, then went to Facebook (because that’s what everyone does, right) and asked the OneWord365 community for suggestions on what to do when you don’t like your word. I got several suggestions, including a change to the word that makes it exactly what I wanted, and more importantly what I need.
Rhythm speaks to me on so many levels, and so that is how I am setting my goals this year. That is how I will enhance the person that I already am and grow towards being more than what I am currently. This year, I want to work on my rhythm. The rhythm of my life, the rhythm of my work, even the rests that make the rhythm mean more. So, if you are like me and hate New Year, New You, or just don’t get the resolution thing, try choosing a word. Maybe your word will be for the month. Sometimes I choose a word for a day (typically it is Breathe and happens when things are way out of rhythm). Whatever you do, do it for you. Do it to grow in who you are and who you want to be. Just don’t forget who you are now.