Despite the varied opinions on the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions, I must admit that I really enjoy them. For years my husband and I have spent New Year’s Eve reflecting on the year that has passed and talking through our dreams for the one ahead. We set goals, choose a “word of the year”, and do quizzes about our priorities. We are New Year’s geeks.
I also enjoy hearing about other people’s resolutions. I think it is a neat “snapshot” way to hear about what someone prioritizes and get to know their heart a little bit better. On an amusing note, I also tend to find myself giggling because most New Year’s goals seem to come out sounding like some version of the Seven Dwarfs. “In 2019 I am going to be Happy and get more Sleepy and become less Grumpy, less Dopey, less Bashful and less Sneezy because I am going to the Doc!” My particular dwarf for 2019 is Breezy. She plans to ride the wind wherever God may take her. I’ll be very curious to see where she lands.
For many, New Year’s resolutions are made in this type of lighthearted and good-natured way. However, for others, reflection over the previous year and setting goals for the one ahead can quickly become a subtle exercise in criticizing how we weren’t “enough.” You will recognize the “not enough” voice if you hear it on New Years because you probably hear it on plenty of other days throughout the year. It’s the voice that shows up on Sunday nights and Monday mornings creating panic for the week ahead and the one that reappears at the end of the week to remind you what you didn’t accomplish. It’s the voice that minimizes progress and amplifies setbacks. It’s the voice that drives insecurity and self-doubt and tells you again and again that you weren’t a good enough parent, spouse, friend, co-worker, or lover of Jesus. It’s the voice of shame and if it’s extra loud here at the end of the year we would all do well to take this opportunity to say, “Zip it!”
The reality is that most people do the best they can with what they have. We want to do well and on many days we are probably doing better than we are willing to admit. When our New Year’s reflections become laser-focused on what we didn’t do “right” we forget to recognize what we overcame, the stressors we faced and the surviving that we did. The day-in-day-out grind of life creates many challenges that sometimes fade when we are looking at the entire picture. Life is hard folks. And for some, 2018 was very, very hard…and you made it.
And so, as you head into your time of reflection this year please remember to be kind to yourself. Acknowledge all of your incredible accomplishments. Celebrate the days that you conquered the world and the days you just made it out of bed. Find value in the big steps and the baby steps and know that each one is part of a great big journey to become who God designed you to be. You were enough this year.