A New Way to Do New Year's Resolutions
Do you fear that the world just might fall apart if you don't jump in and save everyone?
Self-care and intentionally Doing Less have been my practices since the summer of 2013. Having lived most of my life as a “do-er,” this new way of being has been revelatory and brought me so many gifts that I’ve made it my mission to help my clients integrate these practices into their lives too.
At first, they’re not so sure when I say that learning to say no with grace is one of the most grown-up things we can do. I hear all the excuses about how the world will pretty much fall apart if they say no. That’s when I give a little nudge to their ego with a 24-hour challenge to delay saying “yes.”
When they make this one change, amazing things begin to happen: the world doesn't stop, other people step in to solve the problem, or the issue resolves itself. Invariably, they come back to me in shock that it can be that easy.
The truth is that we have limited time and need to be selective about our yeses.
As a teenager, I watched a friend’s mom lurch to the beat of her very full calendar, talking about friends she was seeing and various events she had to attend along with a million other things she was doing. To my teenaged mind, she looked wanted, admired, important, in-demand, and loved. I knew in my heart that I wanted to feel that way too, I just didn’t realize it was called BUSY.
When I learned about The Busy Trap, which talks about why and how we have become addicted to being busy, I discovered that there a handful of reasons that seem very valid on the surface. Do any of these ring true for you? They sure have for me!
- We make ourselves feel busy to embolden us to say no. It’s so much easier to say, “I’m sorry I can’t; I’m just too busy.” than it is to say, “Ya know, that doesn‘t interest me; I’m glad you're passionate about it though. Good luck!”
- Creating space in our schedules can generate feelings of fear that someone else may try to make us busy with their tasks or agenda since the western culture tends to value doing over being.
- Being busy helps us avoid feeling guilty. With everyone walking around bemoaning their busy-ness, admitting that we’re not busy could put us in a position of feeling different and perhaps looked down upon. Why?
- When we say that we’re busy, it can feel like proof of our worth/that we matter; that we are in demand, and hey, we may even get sympathy and respect.
- If we’re busy, that means we’re not lazy. If there’s one thing most of us want to avoid, it’s being seen as lazy.
As we move into a new year, I invite you to join me in considering how you want to feel, rather than what you want to accomplish in the coming year. To me, this has a sensation of moving from the inside-out rather than the outside-in feeling of externally imposed goals.
My desire for this coming year is to feel more relaxed and to take time to smell the roses. I’m a recovering perfectionist, so I’m embracing progress over perfection, which is why I say “more relaxed” rather than “relaxed.” Here are some ways I intend to do this:
- Arrive 5 minutes early for my appointments. This will give me enough breathing space to feel more relaxed and not so much that I become anxious, which can sometimes happen if I’m too early (my mind can get a little busy when I have too much space!). Ironic, huh?
- At stop signs/lights, pause for a beat to take a full inhale and exhale. It’s quick, easy, and I’ll do it when I remember.
- Take time for my afternoon meditation. Even though it’s just 20 minutes, it makes a big difference in my well-being. AND, it’s only 20 minutes.
- Share more hugs.
- Dance, dance, dance. Joyful movement is good medicine.
Do you desire more relaxation (or something else) in your life for the coming year? If so, what are your ideas and intentions for creating that? I’d love to know what you‘re planting for this next year—please share in the comments below!
P.S. If you haven't already, grab my free Self-care Starter Kit—and if you know someone who could use this resource, I hope you'll share that link with them.