What if we started doing with New Month Resolutions, to try to make our relationship better? We could just commit to things one month at a time, getting better little by little, I asked him while holding back tears. I was fully aware, even in the moment, how pitiful I sounded. I could hear the desperation in my voice as I tried to hold on to the last little bits of good in our relationship. I could feel myself begging, pleading. Why couldn't we make this work? Why is this so hard? I knew we could be better than this.
I used to be obsessed with resolutions. I rejoiced each January at the thought of a fresh start, a whole new year ahead to make big changes. I even grabbed on to resolutions in the face of a crumbling relationship, convincing myself that if I could just be a little better, we would be a little better.
This year, though, I'm finding myself averse to resolutions. Goal setting? I'm all for it. Let's do it. But resolutions? They feel like a ploy. Like someone, somewhere is trying to convince me that if I resolve a little more and try a little harder, I'd have more control of my life. Telling me that things will be better if I could just be a little better.
It's the little voice inside your head telling you that you'd be happier if you finally lost those last 10 pounds.
It's the quiet voice telling you your life would feel complete if you had a boyfriend.
It's the quiet hum trying to convince you that you'd be enough if you could just be the runner you used to be.
It's the buzzing in your head, telling you to quit sugar this month. Then you'd be all set!
It's the feeling that washes over you, convincing you that if you could do everything (or anything!) better, your life would be better.
But that voice lies.
Actionable, measurable goals are good. But resolutions can't fill the holes that are empty in our lives. They can't make us complete or change our hearts. Making more trips to the gym each week or reading more books each month won't soothe the pain we often feel.
I find myself wanting to dig deeper this year. If I feel like I need to resolve something so badly, what am I trying to fix? And what is holding me back in the first place? Why am I trying to change that part of myself? Is it something I really need to change?
- What do I want more of in my life?
- How do I let go of what’s no longer serving me?
- What will make me feel more alive? Braver?
- At the end of every day and at the end of every year, I need to know that I contributed more than I criticized. How have I contributed and what will that look like moving forward?
I thought about her questions yesterday as I reflected on the year. I thought about how I feel like I always, always want more time with Chris. As I debated taking on some freelance work this week to have a little more income, I filtered the decision through Brené's questions. What do I want more, I wondered. More time with Chris or more money?
I thought about how Chris encouraged me not to take on freelance work just yet, certain I can see more growth in coaching and The Letter Project. I realized he already knew what I didn't: that pursuing these dreams (the ones I left my job for!), make me feel more alive than any dollars in my bank account do.
I thought about how there are a few friendships I think I might be white knuckling, begging them not to change. I find myself unable to trust that some relationships are for a season and it's OK if we have to loosen our grips a bit as they transition. Am I holding on to things that are no longer serving me? I wondered.
I thought about the places in life where it's easy to sit back and criticize, rather than contribute. I wondered if, every time I felt like criticizing or complaining, I offered to help, instead. What it would do to my heart? Would I feel lighter and more joyful? Would I still want to criticize?
I thought about her questions all day and realized they'd made me dig deeper and understand more than any list of resolutions could I have.
As I use this week to set my own goals for the year, I'm trying to aim for actionable, measurable items. I'm trying to make a list that is not about being better or being different, but instead about using my skills and gifts to contribute to the world in the best way I know how. I'm making a list that is less about changing who I am and more about offering the best of myself to the people I love.
Let us be inspired by the fresh start. Let us dream big dreams, make wild plans and set achievable goals. But let us not buy into the lies that we need to do better or be better. Let us not grasp on to resolutions like they are our Savior, able to fill the depths of our hearts or solve our problems.
Let us remember, even as we make lists for this new year, that we are already enough, just as we are.