HERE THEY ARE: my New Year’s Resolutions, on time this time, as promised. The past three New Years were strange ones, coming out of lockdown, so this year is the first in a long time that feels relatively normal (all things considered). As this past’s was the first holiday season that was open, so this new year also feels more open and hopeful as it begins. And I hope that this year, we’ll have time to do the things we love more often, and be able to let go of the people or situations that drain us, remembering the adage that wherever our attention goes, our energy flows. This year, we hope to find more time for regenerative experiences like time in the sun, or walking around an old city that we love; a plunge into the sea in a place we once called home, or simply being with those who know us best. So here they are, the five things that I hope to spend time working on this year.
And as always, to you: may you dream deeply and love fully this year. And may whatever you’re looking for find you. Happy 2023.
Note Life’s Beautiful Moments
The polymath Omar Khayyam once said, “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” Four years ago, in 2019, I’d made the resolution to try (again) to keep a gratitude journal, and (again) failed. Perhaps had tried to do too much by planning to write five things that I was thankful for at the beginning of each day. This year, I’ve a new tactic: being more conscious of how I spend my time during each day, and noting (in my beautiful new journal) one beautiful moment as it happens, so that at the end of each day, there will be a record. One moment on its own might not seem like much, but a collection of these moments are extraordinary and make up a lifetime. My lifetime. So far these are: watching the clouds turn pink just before sunset on a cold December night; Pink Himalayan Salted Caramel Truffles with freshly ground coffee on a Monday morning; a slice of strawberry Victoria sponge cake made with light, buttery sponge filled with whipped cream and strawberry conserve; waking up next to someone I love.
Patience is a virtue, they say. Unfortunately, it’s a virtue that I’ve had little time for. When I’m doing one thing, often find myself already thinking about the next, mentally rushing moments along while not fully immersing myself in them. I’m currently in the middle of six books and never did learn to play chess (one of my resolutions from two years ago). My lack of patience leaves a tornado of unfinished thoughts, ideas, plans, half-written articles, stories, and a dream of a novel. Waiting for the redesign of our site to be completed was nearly impossible. (It finally went live last week.) Happily, patience is a skill that can be cultivated through practice (and the result of choosing to emphasise thinking over feeling) so it’s something I can improve on. It’s also thought that having patience leads to confidence, decisiveness, and a thoughtful perspective on life⏤all good things for a new year.
New feelings for new experiences
There is a tumblr aphorism that states: Stop carrying old feelings into new experiences. What are these old feelings? Psychologically speaking, they refer to emotional baggage⏤that is, the unresolved emotional issues, traumas, and stresses from the past (and present) that weigh on our mind and even affect our physical being. As we develop, it is normal to carry our perceptions of past experiences with us, and while it may be healthy to want to learn from past experiences, this behaviour can include carrying forward unhealthy ‘baggage’ (so to speak). This emotional baggage can be a barrier to making healthier lifestyle choices and lead to becoming stuck in old habits. It can also have negative impacts on our professional ambitions and goals, healthy relationships, personal contentment, and overall enjoyment of life. Identifying and working through unresolved feelings of fear, hurt, loss, or anger and learning to manage past perceptions allows us to respond to new experiences with new feelings, something that I am continually working on, but would like to pay particular attention to this year.
One small change
Sometimes, making changes can be overwhelming, and if you take on too much, it can result in failure. New year’s resolutions are a classic example–if the list is too big or too ambitious, things could end disastrously, sometimes even before the first month of the new year is through. This year, when there’s something I want to do or change but feel overwhelmed, I will try taking smaller steps instead. For instance, Resolution No.01 (above), is twice failed, but will hopefully be successful this year. You can also apply this method to your own goals: if you would like to do more for the environment, for example, but don’t know where to begin, start with something small and doable, such as replacing single-use plastic straws with reusable metal ones, or replacing all of your plastic hand soap dispensers with bar soap. This year, I plan on breaking down my grand ambitions into smaller steps.
New ways to help
As an extension of last year’s resolution to do more good, this year, I am will search for new ways to help others. One way I’ve already discovered is by donating our old mobile phones. Each usable phone will help disadvantaged people all over the UK get connected to the digital world, which means our old phones could be donated to someone at risk of homelessness, someone who’s just left the military, a victim of domestic abuse, and the list goes on. It’s a small way to help that has a big impact, and this year, I hope to find as many ways to give back to the universe as I can.