Monday, December 28, 2009

The Anti-Resolution List

I'm not a resolutions kind of girl.

Mainly because I know I'll lose my list long before the end of the year, so even if I wanted to keep any eye on my progress, I wouldn't be able.
My name is Christina and I lose everything.

But I also avoid resolutions because I don't think life is about creating new hateful habits (exercising a bazillion hours every week! surviving on carrot sticks and lemon water!) or breaking old ones I like (you will never take my coffee away). If I'm going to reflect over the year, it's to see what I liked and what I want to try differently the next time around. I won't be building myself guilt traps. I'll be giving myself permission to enjoy life and grow it into something amazing.

Here's how I try to do it.

I plan to do at least one big thing that I haven't done before. This is kind of an every year plan; 2009's Big Thing I Haven't Done Before was a roadtrip with my best friend. We had a vague plan for the journey, only knowing for sure we'd stop at two old southern cemeteries. On a whim, we drove down to St. Augustine, enjoyed the day, and then drove all night to Virginia so I could teach a 7:40 a.m. class.

I wrote a Dammit List. I wish I could say this was my idea, but it actually came from the brilliance that is Havi Brooks. Basically, it's a manifesto, a collection of personal statements, that define for you (and others) how your life will be conducted. I built upon the Dammit List concept by actually organizing a Dammit Day, and convincing others to write their lists, too. (I get pushy when it comes to the well-being of others, but if they don't like it they can stop talking to me.)

I commit to trying to ask myself the right questions. Welcome to nerd talk, but I truly believe it: if you don't know how to ask the right questions, you're never going to get helpful answers or solutions. So when I come up against hard decisions or scary choices, I try to ask good questions: Am I making this decision out of fear? If so, what am I afraid of? Do I really have more time than I'm giving myself to choose? How might I grow through this opportunity?

I laugh. Because most things are funny from the right perspective, and even the bad things can make for a good story -- it's all in how you tell it.

Now it's your turn. What works best when you contemplate a brand new year? Are you a hard-core resolutions writer or a que sera, sera kind of person? Share your approach in the comments!

8 comments:

CaJoh said...

I typically give my self a goal to achieve— but one that is pretty vague and not specific. Last year I posted on my resolution progress on December 31. Feel free to check it out:
http://cajoh.blogspot.com/2008/12/healthy-wealthy-and-wise.html

I'll be posting on my progress from this year on Thursday, so stop by then as well.

Have a happy new Year!

Monique-aka-Surferwife23 said...

I'm not a big resolutions girl because I don't want to disappoint myself like I have in past years. This year I am set to get back into my triathlon training on the 2nd but I have to do that anyway. So it isn't really a resolution.

Nathanael Rey said...

Hmm....

You have a very interesting take on this whole "Resolutions" thing. I usually make a resolution to myself quietly but never really put any effort into accomplishing anything. This year I actually have a goal (goals) in mind. Basically I am taking the plan for where I want to go and facilitating the changes to make that happen. Stay tuned... I'll be blogging about it come New Years! haha.

christianne said...

I really like your approach to asking questions of yourself, especially when you get paralyzed by something. You are my kind of girl when it comes to that sort of thing. :)

Sara said...

I'm a hot mess, as friends of mine would say. I'm disorganized, I don't understand how Sallie Mae works, I blew up a car and I have ridiculously high standards for both myself and others. Does that add up to healthy? Not so much.

I'm super intrigued by this Damnit List, however, and I want to learn more!

P.S. I would never take your coffee from you. That's wrong.

bellyshirts said...

I like your approach!
Honestly, I've never even thought about each new year in a way of "oh I should do this or not do this".. I kind of just let the years flow together. I think this year though I'm going to make a list of things I want to do in that year or just in the next 5 years in general. We'll see how it goes!

Hannah Miet said...

I am with you. I wrote non-resolutions this year -http://hannahmiet.blogspot.com/2009/12/welcome-to-my-tabula-rasa-part-1.html

Deb said...

So simple and so smart. I love the one about asking yourself the right questions and know how hard that can be to do.

My goals for 2010 were just a neater list of things I realized I wanted to work on during the course of '09, which I might not have recognized if I hadn't been blogging about them. The "less yelling" one is proving the one I despise most. The kids MUST have caught wind of it and made a pact to never again respond to a normal tone of voice.