New Year's Resolution: Survive

Every new year has become the same story: we create greater-than-achievable goals that we believe will motivate ourselves to become our very best selves. These goals are usually along the lines of “Eat healthier!” or “Work out every day!” or “Don’t procrastinate!” However, because most of our goals are vague and almost impossible to achieve they are often abandoned within a few days of the new year commencing.

This year I’ve decided to do something radical: rather than focus all my time and energy on goals that I’ll never be able to accomplish, I’ve decided to live this year by a simple philosophy to become the best version of myself and start living the life I deserve to live. Quite simply, my new year’s resolution is to survive.

Now that isn’t to say I won’t hopefully start eating healthier, or save money, or go to the gym, or do any of the many things I originally thought to add to a new year’s resolution list. It simply means that I plan to take it day by day, week by week, month by month, and really do the things that make me happy. Sure, I could try to follow a bunch of resolutions, but if they make me unhappy in the long run because I become more focused on checking off boxes on a list, am I really living the life I want to live? I’m hoping at the end of the year I’ll end up fulfilling a few of the things I would have put on my list of resolutions, but I don’t plan to circle my life around completing resolutions as I might have in the past.

By resolving to survive this year it means that the pressure I’ve placed on myself to become a better me year after year is absolved. Also, the guilt I ultimately feel when, year after year, I fail to do the things I’ve promised I’ll do doesn’t have to weigh me down as I look back at my list of resolutions and realize I haven’t changed myself at all. It’s all about not feeling guilty for doing things that go against what would typically be my resolutions, and not assuming I’ve gone back to square one if I forget to go to the gym for a week, or eat an entire bag of chips when I planned to only eat healthy foods.

I’m making this my year to flourish, but also the year to put my basic needs before grand aspirations, and honestly, you should too. Make this the year you remember to eat; make this the year that you remember to take your medication; make this the year of overcoming your negative tenancies; make this the year you become comfortable with the bad thoughts in your head and make friends with the person you were; make this the year where you recognize the things you need to change, and allow yourself the opportunity to do so if you can. Finally, be okay if the you that you were at the beginning of the year remains the person that you are at the end.

Focusing on your survival is a resolution to adapt to the things life throws at you, and change how you react to the things you can—and can’t—control. This year is about recognizing the problems you have and doing your best to overcome them, while also remembering that you’re not a perfect person, and you shouldn't be so quick to think you haven’t grown if you can’t always do the things you’d usually resolve to do.

It is possible to grow as a person without having new year’s resolutions. In fact, it may actually be possible to grow more because you aren’t constrained by the things that you think matter at the beginning of the year. For all you know, you may grow more by a decision even if it doesn’t adhere to the rules you laid out for yourself at the beginning of the year.

We have to stop judging our success by how many boxes we can check off a list of new year’s resolutions. Instead, make a resolution to survive whatever life throws at you this year; allow yourself to grow and be changed by the things you decide to do and the obstacles you must overcome. Resolve to survive this year, and I promise you, at the end of this year you won’t be left rewriting all your old resolutions again. Instead, you’ll be able to look back and remember all that you’ve survived, and resolve to keep on surviving.

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