Forget the resolutions! Why set yourself up for failure? Just take each day as it comes, and hope for the best.
Yeah… this isn’t THAT kind of blog.
Sorry to disappoint you, but foregoing a list of resolutions for the New Year is a bad idea! If you’ve been reading articles, or watching overdone TV interviews with some generic form of the title, “Why You Should Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions,” [Note: I’m guilty of producing and hosting dozens of those in my career] let me be the first to tell you, that’s a noncommittal way to start the year! Now, if you lack drive, commitment, the need for growth, the desire to make your dreams come true, and vow to be hopelessly unmotivated, by all means, listen to that boring, everybody-should-get-a-trophy advice. But just because you feel “stuck” right now, or last year wasn’t the success you hoped for a year ago, that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on re-defining, re-listing, re-investing, re-imagining, re-formulating, or re-naming your resolutions!
Two years ago, I took part in what I thought was going to be a New Year’s tradition of resolution-making. It was called, “The Family Meeting,” and I loved everything about it! I loved the people, the setting, the conversation, the mood, and the purpose of “the meeting.” This gathering didn’t take place in a conference room or via FaceTime. There were no note-takers, or electronics to serve as a distraction. It took place in a private corner of a bustling restaurant. The seating was cozy, the food was on-point, the lighting was dim, and important goals for the year ahead were about to be spoken. It was the first time I participated in “The Family Meeting,” and I felt a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and like a kid who finally got to sit at “the big people’s” table on Christmas Day. There were only three of us at the table; my boyfriend at the time, his teenage son, and me. This was a father-son tradition they shared for years. At every family meeting, which took place on the first day (or week) of the New Year, a list of goals and desires for the upcoming year were said aloud. It was a way of holding everyone at the table accountable for their goals. Throughout the year, this father-son team would take inventory of their goals, and either recognize progress or discuss adjustments that needed to be made to accomplish their goals. Most well-run businesses adopt the same practice. But this family meeting was more intimate, less programmed, and exclusive to a unit of people who were truly on the same team.
At this particular family meeting, both personal and professional resolutions were spoken. I don’t recall the specifics of each person’s goals, but I remember clearly the moment when my boyfriend put his arm around me, looked at his son, and said, “We want to get married and have a baby this year.” I knew we were going to have this conversation, we were on the same page, the same team. But my mind, in a matter of milliseconds, while skipping and jumping (yes, women’s minds can do that, and many other things simultaneously) thought, “I’m so glad he said it so that I didn’t have to!… Yesssssss this is FINALLY happening in my life, and it feels so right!… Is this awkward for his son?… He’s such a good kid, he seems really cool about it… I mean, we’re practically living together, this isn’t a surprise… Should I say something now?”
If my memory serves me correctly, I smiled and nodded my head accordingly a few times. When the wedding-and-baby discussion was over, I think I added that I wanted to get rid of some credit card debt and continue to focus on staying healthy. Nothing like breaking the ice with talk of money and hitting the gym (Geesh!). All kidding aside, it was during our after-dinner drinks (hot teas and lattes at Starbucks), that his son and I had a private exchange about the family meeting. I said, “Are you okay with that conversation?” He replied with a smile, “Yes, my mom did the same thing when she got remarried.” And that was it. No pomp and circumstance. No mushy conversation. No hugging it out. It was easy. It was nice. It was right. It was my first family meeting.
And it was my last.
No, I’m not secretly married. And I didn’t exclude myself from Christmas cards because I’m hiding a pregnancy. They were goals. They were resolutions. They didn’t happen. At least, not yet. But that doesn’t mean that I failed or had a setback because I didn’t complete a list of goals and dreams from two years ago. Nor does it mean that I can’t have those things on my list again, or take them off. And it’s the same for you… yes YOU! Whether you vowed to never make another resolution, or you’re moping around because you caught some bad breaks and the words can’t, never, and won’t are the most used words in your language… STOP! You’ll never gain momentum toward progress if you live in a negative space. And in order to feel happiness, you need to feel growth and progress. In order to progress, you need to set goals.
Make a list. Check it more than twice. Schedule a family meeting (and maybe you’ll be the only one to attend). Resolve to have goals this year. And don’t be hard on yourself if they change. Follow through on something that gives you a sense of progress. You’re not setting yourself up for failure. You’re setting the stage for your growth.