I hate to be one of the five gazillion bloggers blogging about new year’s resolutions this week, but … well … I am.
Do you guys make resolutions?
According to some statistics I came across this week, about 40% of people make resolutions, which actually seems a bit low to me. I would think it would be higher. It seems like just about everyone I know is talking about their resolutions for the new year (usually involving some sort of food deprivation), and it’s not that I don’t want to join in, or that I don’t admire the fact that they’re doing this, it’s just that I tend to avoid resolutions. To me, resolutions end up feeling like a big ol’ long list of things I haven’t managed to accomplish. And who wants to go into the new year reading that?
Instead, I actually make a list of things I accomplished in the previous year. Now, lest you think I’m just making that up for the sake of this blog, I even ran upstairs and got my lists from previous years to prove that I really do (and took a photo for you, right up there in the corner!). My lists say things like “Got new garage door,” “Reorganized makeup drawer,” “Got photos organized.” One of my lists even says “Great trips for the kids: Catalina, Yosemite, Palm Springs!” because I was really proud of the fact that I got to take my kids to all those places one year.
Sometimes I leaf through my list of accomplishments – not even just at the new year, but in the middle of August – and, oddly enough, they still make me feel really good. Because sometimes you feel like there’s just SO much to do, and you’re not getting anything done – you’ve got to repaint the porch rail, get your kids’ vaccines updated, replenish those fire-alarm batteries, lose weight, learn yoga, donate those books to the library, replace the dining chairs, organize your kids’ closets, download all those photos from the Halloween party, replace the screens, fix the coat hook in the boys’ room, put in new carpeting upstairs, etc., etc. The list never ends. And creating a new list for 2009 – as if you didn’t know all the things you didn’t finish – always feels a little demoralizing.
But if you make a list of things you managed to accomplish the previous year (Did you get your child to his first dentist appointment? Manage to have a family portrait done? Get your car checked so it can go another 30,000 miles? Hang the portraits you’ve been wanting to hang? Tuck away a little savings?), suddenly you feel rather invigorated. And you go into the new year thinking, hmmm, what cool things will I do this year that will make next year’s list? If you pull your lists out in July or October – or whenever you’re feeling like you never get anything accomplished – you’ll see that you actually do. You suddenly remember how great you felt when you got those stupid baseboards painted two years ago. (And you get a little perspective on how unimportant all this stuff is, in the long run, really.)
So get your pens ready, friends. Scratch off those 2009 pie-in-the-sky plans and make a list instead of all the great things you did manage to accomplish in 2008. I promise you’ll feel better!