"Resolution: The act or process of resolving." —Merriam Webster Dictionary
Most of us, by which I mean just about everyone in this country, can say 2021 was hell. Okay, maybe that is a bit of an understatement (ha), but for the vast majority, it was simply hell, and for some, it was much worse. 2020 was equally so. I’m not sure how to differentiate between the two as both were equally awful, maybe 2020 Hell Version 1.0 and 2021 Hell Version 2.0? The thought of 2022 being any version of hell is not something that I think I have the inner strength to endure.
I have never believed in resolutions—sorry, no offense intended to you resolution setters. If there is something that needs doing, I just do it. Period. No whining or procrastination. However, January started off with me feeling less and less motivated. While trying to think of ways to change this, I started thinking about resolutions and wondering if this year might be a good year to come up with a few. I felt I could easily accomplish the timeworn resolution of going to the gym. Nothing specific, just start going to the gym. Cooking more was another. Again, nothing specific, just cook more. Then I added meditating longer than five minutes before falling asleep to my list.
Although vague, my resolutions are more or less related to being healthy. However, the more I thought about them, the more stressed I felt. Stress, as you know, is the opposite of healthy. Stress is a hooded criminal in a dark alley waiting to take you out. Thinking that resolutions could be easily accomplished, I was confused by my feelings of dread and stress. After doing quite a bit of reading on the subject, I discovered I was mentally pressuring myself to succeed at my resolutions.
First, by keeping my list vague and not using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) as I usually do with goals, I had inadvertently started to visualize lofty accomplishments related to my resolutions. After all, who doesn’t want to be the perfect cook, the fittest person at the gym, and a person who can meditate for long periods without falling asleep? Visualization is an excellent tool for success, but not when it’s used to the point of causing stress.
Second, I listed tasks that I had no motivation to accomplish; they just sounded like things I should be interested in doing. Both of these are terrible ways to start setting resolutions. I might as well go cut a branch off a tree in my backyard and start beating myself with it, because that is pretty much how the next few weeks will play out before I give up on my resolutions, along with 80% of the population.
I even looked at synonyms for resolution, thinking it might help clarify things a little more. The Merriam Webster Dictionary listed “courage, mettle, spirit, tenacity, etc.” Shit (pardon the expletive), that’s what 2020 and 2021 were about. I just want something simple.
Needless to say, I have tossed out my resolutions. I ultimately realized that I’m not unmotivated; I’m simply exhausted, hence the lack of inner strength. I just survived another year and holidays during a pandemic, don’t even get me started on how much I worried about the variants.
My plans? I am going to resolve to embrace the quiet that January often brings. Who knows what 2022 will bring, but whatever “Version” it turns out to be, I’ll be ready.