New Year’s resolutions can be a setup for judgment, stress, and failure. While the “clean slate” of January 1 can certainly inspire us to set goals and intentions, it can also overburden us with expectation.
I used to approach my list of resolutions for each year with equal parts excitement and aversion. I fretted about what I had not accomplished the previous year, which added stress rather than reducing it. I eventually switched my list of resolutions to a list of intentions. This kinder, gentler list has put me more at ease. Still, I felt I was missing something.
Then, some years ago, Dewitt and I added a new list for December 31st. We wrote “done” lists - lists of what we had already “done” in the year just past. We started with accomplishments, travels, and completed goals.
We made our separate lists; then sat down and reviewed them together, frequently remembering and adding others. Great conversations about our lives and feelings resulted.
It wasn’t long before the list morphed - into what Dewitt aptly named the “ta da” list. It wasn’t just milestones and accomplishments we were re-viewing. Insights, new knowledge, and self-revelations made the list. Life moments that we experienced throughout the year.
Simple things that touched us like providing “hospice” care for our rescue kitty with feline AIDS or the butterfly we rescued from the highway in high winds who died anyway, leaving a most beautiful shell of herself. (She still sits on my desk.)
Visits with friends, great books we read, double rainbows, and walks made the list. We took time to notice the losses as well, while celebrating what we still have.
I still craft intentions and to do lists for each New Year. I like having a framework, a vision for the coming twelve month period. Even more, I look forward to going over our ta-da lists each December 31st. Honestly? That is my favorite New Year’s eve celebration.
Join us this year. Compile a list of all you’ve experienced during 2012. In this eye-of-the-storm lull between Christmas frenzy and New Year’s celebrating, let’s all ruminate on the past. Give yourself a great, glorious pat on the back for all that you have done and been this year.
We can work on those walloping To Do lists later. (You make one every year too, I know you do!) For this year end, shout Ta Da out loud and celebrate all the moments you’ve enjoyed for the last twelve months.