Not Falling for It: Giving Up on the Trap of New Year's Resolutions

It’s the New Year, and I’m feeling overwhelmed at all the articles telling me how to “crush it!” this year. I feel this sinking feeling that no, nothing is going to be different.

I’m still going to be worrying about my cursing and have all these Christians insisting that I’m going to hell for my mixed up idea that God is available to all of us, no Jesus required. I’m still going to have a messy house, with a bedroom that’s too small. It’s all going to be the same. Nothing is going to be different, I worry.

I feel empty and tapped out and I feel worried about anyone listening to me, or looking to me, for anything.

Ugh. Well.

What to do with that?

Well, for one, I can introduce just a LITTLE BIT of perspective into the moment. There are a lot of good things here, despite my lack of optimism about the new year. For one, over break, I read Elizabeth Berg’s new novel The Story of Arthur Truluv, which I liked very much, and read in one day, and then I started reading Roxane Gay’s remarkable memoir Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

And, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see we went someplace INSANELY BEAUTIFUL after Christmas. Trees and snow and an orange pink sky. Weird snow-covered cactuses and animal tracks, mice and deer and bunnies bunnies bunnies running around.

Our car got stuck in the snow on the drive there and miracle of miracles we had chains in our trunk and we laid right down in the middle of a foggy deserted highway (there was no place to pull over and the car kept sliding backwards down this hill) and we put the chains on and no coyote bit us and no cars came to run us over.

Last night, my husband and son went out to the laundromat where they give you free detergent and have video games and did all of our laundry in their super-big, super fast machines. I went to a meeting with a new friend.

My spouse and I went to a movie yesterday morning at 9:50 a m. A breakfast movie. WHO EVEN KNEW THAT WAS A THING? Then we went out for these really good tacos. If you ever visit Portland, let me know and I’ll direct you to some seriously amazing food.

It’s quiet here. And my neighbor brought in a package for me so it wouldn’t get stolen off the front porch. And we figured out a system for the garbage going out where each apartment shares the responsibilities and that was me, I did that. For 8 years my neighbor had been quietly resentful and had been trying to get the garbage bins out through mind-control and passive aggressiveness, but finally, we came up with a solution.

I told my therapist how the garbage situation was making me hate my neighbors and she encouraged me to talk to them about it. I didn’t think it would work, but I did it, only so I could prove her wrong and WHAT DO YOU KNOW IT WORKED. So, I did that.

Tonight is garbage night, and I am not taking the bins out, and yet, it’s getting done. Another miracle. 

So, if you are feeling like me, like you are supposed to be all chipper and all go-gettery about A BRAND NEW YOU in the new year, but you feel a sinking feeling that this is just a set up for failure, and if the thought of a brand new you just makes you feel a low-grade anxiety and depression about the REAL-TIME, ACTUAL you – let's just both try to let that feeling go. 

Instead, for me, I can acknowledge – oh, all this new year, new me stuff is depressing. I am fine just as I am.

If God or the Universe wants me to be different, it will have to use divine intervention, because the truth is, I have never changed myself. Not once. Not for good.

And I do want to be different, but I have a sinking feeling that I am stuck with myself as I am. Not the other me, the better one, the one who lives in my potential, but only this one, here. This is the me I have. This is it. And it’s good enough, because it’s gotta be.

Can I love me as I am? Can I?

That’s the resolution this year: Radical self-acceptance.

The resolution to make no resolution. I'm not falling for it. New Year's resolutions are a trap. Because there is no resolution to my human-ness, my imperfections. This is a situation that is here to stay.

So the only change I will make this year is this: No attempt at a big change. No resolution. 

Instead: Radical self-acceptance, in each moment, as it comes.

I’m ready.

Let’s do this.