Making Resolutions Might Be As Hard As Keeping Them

Resolutions. Some make them, some avoid making them, many get over-optimistic about them, few end up keeping them.

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I’m a resolutions person. At the beginning of each year, I enjoy imagining that this year, this specific year will be different. Don’t get me wrong, they always are. Just not in the ways that we expect them to be.

At the same time, I’m an extremely greedy person. I want more, I want it all. I want to travel more, read more, blog more, watch more movies, exercise more, explore more, have more friends, go out more, sleep more, experience more, learn more, speak out my mind more.

But I also wish for less – less stress, less coffee, less time spent on social media, less hesitation, less fear, less ‘yes’ when I should have said ‘no’, less guilt, less self-criticism.

The beginning of each year seems like a great time for reflection and resolutions – why shouldn’t it? Reflection is the key to figuring out a better (?) way forward. When 2017 extends in front of your eyes like a blank canvas before the artist or the blank Word document before that essay deadline, one cannot help but think: What do I want? What do I enjoyed in the previous year? What would I rather change? What am I good at? What could I do to become better in something else?

Some of my wishes are often contradictory; I hope I’m not the only one. For instance, I cannot resist another round of drinks or another episode in an already long(ish) How to Get Away With Murder marathon, but at the same time I want to be the person who wakes up inhumanly early and gets herself to yoga class. I love the idea of blogging more frequently but at the same time I want to start freelancing as a translator – besides my 9-6 job – and keep up with my languages. Or possibly pick up another one along the way…

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Making resolutions is very closely connected to deciding on what your priorities are.  I have the feeling that my generation (I’m a 90s kid) grew up on the basis of being able to achieve anything. However, few felt the need to underline the difference between anything and everything. We were raised to believe that we can achieve anything we set our mind onto but were surrounded with so many amazing opportunities that choosing the anything that we should be aiming at becomes more and more complex. Identifying priorities is thus hard.

Because when you realise the plethora of the possibilities, you deny to settle for just one thing. You want a little bit of this, a little bit of that. You want it all. No, you need it all. And, most importantly, deep down you feel that you can have it all.

But can we really have it all? There is a folk aphorism in Greek (oh the fabled Greek fold, so selectively sensible) that says that if one is not satisfied with what he has and asks for more, he might end up losing even the few things that he has already.

Does that imply that pursuing too many lofty goals at once could easily lead to disaster, disappointment or, more in tune with modern times, burnout?

This is how 2017 found me – insidious, disquieting, existential thoughts aiding and abetting a slightly gloomy mood sprinkled with a few rounds of insomnia. Why was I putting myself through all this trouble when I could have simply devised an ambitious plan to hit the gym more often just to abandon it (slowly and guiltily) in the course of the year?

Someone could easily suggest that this is a case of ‘much ado about nothing’; I could easily avoid making resolutions altogether instead of going through this whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. I could. And I would if I wasn’t feeling confident about the following: If reflection is necessary for choosing resolutions, resolutions  – or goals, in general – are key to a more intentional life; the kind of life I want to lead.

Stay tuned for more on resolutions!

Thoughtful (as always),

F.

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