This is the time of year I advocate for affirmations rather than resolutions.
I used to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the accepted and conventional manner. I’d stay up till midnight, fortify my resolve with champagne, and vow to live cleaner, work harder, and sustain a calm, orderly, life.
I’d make these resolutions at midnight, and in the morning – just hours into the new year – I ‘d break them. Then I’d think I was a failure, and that the year was off to a bad start and could only get worse so really, why bother?
It didn’t matter if it was a modest resolution I’d failed to keep, like putting the clean laundry away, or a grandiose one, like writing a novel by the end of the week, or a perennial one, like losing a few pounds, or a hopeful one, like being kinder and more generous.
All resolutions did was set me up for failure.
I’m done with that!
Now I make lists of affirmations, including all the milestones and transitions celebrated and/or mourned, depending.
I write everything down: the visits, the adventures, the conversations and connections, the surprises, and the words.
If you’re a writer, it’s important to keep track of the words.
I write down all my publications and broadcasts for the year, including where and when they were published.
This isn’t just a measurable reality-check, it’s also good record keeping, which is part of the job.
Writers need to keep track of their work for several reasons:
- So you can send a clip along with a query.
- In order to keep track of your income; the tax man cometh in April.
- To correlate your paying markets with your readership. What’s your payer to reader mix?
- For a sense of accomplishment: Look how much you wrote!
This time of year I also try to update the list of the books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched during the year. I’m middle aged, and this is a helpful memory aid.
And I list all that I’m grateful for, which is especially helpful in these uncertain times.
Making resolutions is like “shoulding” all over yourself; listing affirmations leads to kindness and self-care.
I no longer make resolutions. I write affirmations, try to stay present, single task, and live one moment at a time.
Blessings to you. I’ll see you in the New Year.
Deborah Lee Luskin blogs weekly about Living in Place, The Middle Ages (in humans, not history), Vermonters By Choice, and most recently: Lessons from the Long Trail, about her 272-mile end-to-end thru-hike of Vermont’s Long Trail.