my alternative to making new year's resolutions...

on Friday, December 31, 2010

Hi everyone. I'm spending some time on the south coast (of NSW) at my friend Susan's. I celebrated NYE with friends, food and wine...and as it does at this time of year, talk turned to resolutions.
I haven't made any resolutions for a few years (well not publicly anyway)...and I'm not about to start now. But, I'm a joiner and I know that there will be resolutions flying around all over the place (although we didn't admit to many last night...I suspect because we're all too old to bother!) 
But...I have an alternative to making a resolution or three. You see, I think resolutions set you up for failure. Why? 
Because they're almost always about dramatic change. Lose 15kg, quit smoking, get a better job, get fit, eliminate debt, run a marathon (never in a million years!), read 100 classic novels, renovate the entire house (completely inconsistent with eliminating debt, but it might get you fit!), reduce stress, learn a new language...and on and on it goes. A weight of expectation.
But doing nothing in 2011 is not an option, because there are things I need to get better at. Who knew!! :))
So...this is my solution...the achievement notebook. Alright then, a free notebook that came with a magazine years ago that's been sitting in a drawer gathering dust! I am reinventing it!
Yes there is satisfaction in writing a 'to do' list, crossing an item off when it's been done. I absolutely love lists for things I know will get done. But resolutions are different and if you're like me, all you'll see are the things that you haven't yet achieved. And that's where the achievement book comes in. It's still a list...but not a 'to do' list; rather an 'I've done that' list. Achievements. Big. Small. Or somewhere in between. Things that make you sit up straighter, smile (or if they're good enough...make you insufferably smug!)
I don't know whether it will pan out this way, and I'm certainly no psychologist, but I have the feeling that writing down a list of achievements will be somehow more satisfying than crossing items off a list...or satisfying in a different way...that's my theory anyway.
I've divided the notebook into sections...I'm absolutely no expert, but these are the things I want to focus on this year; this is what's important to me (at least at the moment!)...others might work better for you:
  • living a healthy life (and yes, of course weight loss, exercise, healthy eating etc will go in here, but so might thinking positively, meditating and rejecting toxic people);
  • improving my sanctuary...along with my sanity? (some renovations, tarting up the paintwork in a few rooms, making a lovely garden, whittling away at the mortgage, decorating);
  • nurturing my creativity (painting, knitting, sewing, crochet...and who knows what else; simply having a go);
  • learning lots (a few courses, writing practice, travelling, listening; and again, just trying something new);
  • loving well (caring about the right things, demonstrating love, supporting, growing); and
  • a reading list for 2011...that I've already started
Is this ambitious? Perhaps. But I'm placing no demands on myself here. I'm simply choosing to focus on certain parts of my life and recording my successes. A blank page will be nothing more than that, or perhaps it will just be an indication that I've chosen to focus elsewhere. But I suspect there will be no categories without at least one entry.   Yes, of course there will be some failures, but why focus on those? And I will still end up with a list, but everything on that list will have been achieved...and I think that will be fabulous :)
So here's to a wonderful 2011 for everyone. And what about you? Resolutions or not?