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  • Writer's pictureStarlene Justice

To Resolve…or Not?

At the beginning of last year—that crazy, tumultuous, unexpected 2020—I noticed a trend taking hold on social media: a trend of pushing back against the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. Suddenly, out of nowhere, it became taboo to try to start the new year with goals, promises, changes, or anything remotely resembling a resolution.

Hmmmm…what could be the problem here?

As near as I could finally make out, it's not that people were against resolutions, or making changes, or pushing themselves to grow and develop. It was more that people wanted to take a moment and say: look; sometimes this is all I can do, and it’s OK.

And you know what? That’s absolutely fair.

Sometimes we are doing all we can do—or our circumstances are especially challenging—and allowing self-compassion, self-care, and a chance to re-set is a courageous, healing thing to do.

But like any pressure imposed by self or society, this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. And I wonder if those who did want to take advantage of the New Year to set some different habits in motion were cowed by the overwhelming sentiment against doing such a thing. And since making public proclamations increases accountability and is very helpful, I’m afraid there are some folks who missed out on the traditional time to make changes because they felt that it was frowned on.

So, now that we stand in this New Year of 2021, here are three things I want to say:

#1. Good-bye 2020. And good riddance!

#2. If you feel that setting new goals for the new year is unwelcome, untenable, and causes you to feel less-than—please listen to your gut, your instincts, and your soul’s voice, and give yourself the care and compassion you deserve. You may want to change some things, but there’s nothing that says you can’t change in June instead of January. Period.

#3. There’s something about a new year that lends itself to hope, and excitement, and ambition. If you know there are things you want to accomplish, or change, or set in motion, then I would strongly encourage you to go ahead and take advantage of the natural high emotion that accompanies a new year. Especially this new year! And just because some folks don’t want to make resolutions, or set goals, or start new habits, doesn’t mean that you can’t. Don’t let society tell you what you should or shouldn’t do; and that goes for the people who don’t want to set goals, and for the ones who do.

Ultimately, when one considers the entirety of a human life, there will always be times of ebb and flow. No matter whether you are ebbing or flowing, it is up to you to listen to your inner voice, to find the path that is best for you, and to have the courage to take that path. Whether you need to slow down and care for yourself more, or whether you need to kick yourself in the ass. I hope that 2021 will bring you into closer communion with all that is good and authentic in your soul.

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