Despite the varied opinions on the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions, I must admit I really enjoy them. For years, my husband and I have spent New Year’s Eve reflecting on the year past and talking through 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.
In addition to self-reflection, I also enjoy hearing about other people’s resolutions. I think it is a neat “snapshot” way to hear someone’s priorities and get to know their heart a bit better. On an amusing note, I also tend to find myself giggling because most New Year’s goals come out sounding like some version of the Seven Dwarfs. “In 2022 I am going to be Happy and get more Sleepy and be less Grumpy, less Dopey, less Bashful, and less Sneezy because I am going to the Doc!” My dwarf for 2022 is Hippie. She plans to chill in her new country surroundings, wear funky glasses, and write a lot.
For many, New Year’s resolutions are made in a lighthearted and good-natured way. However, for others, reflection over the previous year and goal setting quickly disintegrate into an exercise in criticizing how we weren’t “enough.” You will recognize the “not enough” voice if you hear it this New Year because you probably heard it other days as well.
The “not enough” voice shows up on Sunday nights and Monday mornings creating panic for the week ahead, only to reappear at the end of the week to remind you what you didn’t accomplish. It’s the voice that minimizes progress and amplifies setbacks, drives insecurity and self-doubt, and tells you again and again you weren’t a good enough parent, spouse, friend, co-worker, or lover of Jesus. In short, 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, stressors we faced, and the surviving that we did. The day-in-day-out grind of life creates challenges that sometimes fade when we are looking at the entire picture. Life is hard folks. And for some, 2021 was very, very hard…and, you made it.
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 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 each one is part of a great big journey of becoming who God designed you to be. You were enough this year.
Please feel free to use/screenshot the below infographic to help guide you and yours through 2021 reflections in a self-compassionate way.