New Year's Resolutions for 2011, and Promises Worth Keeping

I didn't write a New Year's Resolution post last year. In fact, I never wrote resolutions at all. I usually don't for a number of reasons. And they're not all negative reasons:
  1. I'll either set unrealistic expectations, or set realistic expectations and not meet them, both of which result in feelings of regret and self-deprecation.
  2. Some resolutions I set, though meaningful on January 1st, end up being irrelevant, but sometimes for a good reason. Last year's list of resolutions might have included commiting to a solid workout four days a week. But they would never have included something like raising $5,100 for Big City Mountaineers and climbing Mount Rainier. Training for that in and of itself was a bigger commitment than a 4x/week workout schedule. Go me!
  3. I don't believe in them...much. We're supposed to be setting goals, striving and reaching all year. What makes this day more important than any other? Why not set resolutions on our birthdays? I'd rather my goals be fluid, and I'd rather set them as I learn more about what I really want to accomplish rather than forcing them out according to the Gregorian calendar's "new year." I want when I set goals to be flexible.
  4. It makes things easier. It's the easy way out. I don't have to set goals on this day like everyone else, I don't have to commit to anything, and I don't have to worry about disappointing myself. Putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and getting that concept in writing, then rereading it...well, it's a lame excuse. It's a symptom of fear.
Walking on the frozen St. Lawrence River, 2005. (D Herscovitch)
I know we're supposed to set specific, measurable goals. How else will we know if we've achieved them? But there's so much I want to get out of the upcoming year(s) that can't be measured, and I'd imagine when I'm about to cross the proverbial finish line, I'll just know.

There are a few "resolutions" I've been working on lately, though they have nothing to do with New Year's Day. They're not resolutions, really, they're promises. I haven't resolved to complete them by January 1, 2012. I didn't make them on January 1, 2010. They're part of my ongoing evolution. I want to climb another "big" mountain this year, which I suppose could be a resolution. I want to do a better job of staying in touch with friends. That could be one too. But if I continue to work on keeping my promises, the rest will come. And I'm getting them out in the open today because they're important.

I've done a lot of growing this year, a lot of internal reflection, a lot of limit testing, and a lot of learning. I'm proud of the slow, but steady progress I've made in getting to know myself. It's such a strange concept, knowing myself. I spend every second of every day with me, how could the person that is me still be a bit of a stranger? Regardless, here are some of the silent-until-now promises I've made:
  • I promise to accept myself, and with that, I promise to stop wanting to be like everyone else.
  • I promise to learn how to separate others' expectations from my own, and live according to mine. I promise to work to understand what really, truly drives me and follow that passion wherever it takes me.
  • I promise to look in the mirror every day with loving eyes, not critical ones. Then, I promise to take those non-critical eyes out into the world.
  • I promise to keep challenging myself, to keep trying things that scare me, for as long as I live. And when the fear's almost too much, I promise to continually remind myself of how it feels to conquer it.
  • I promise to keep looking inward, even though that promise might come with tears and things I don't want to find. It will also come with so many positive things, and already has.
Wish me luck! What are some of your resolutions this year? If you didn't make any, why?


kks said…
Beautifully said! I'm with you!
Anonymous said…
I think this is a great way to tackle life, Katie. It seems to me that you've already made progress toward incorporating this promises into your life. Keep it up.