Look, we’ve all been there. Yes, okay, it’s tradition to make a New Year’s resolution every year – but how often do we follow them up? Usually, we get two weeks into our newfound fitness routine (if we’re lucky), and then we call it a day. Followed by feeling bad for not following through on our resolution and succumbing back into old habits. Humans are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break – i.e. I wouldn’t beat yourself up too much.
Every year, true to the romantic in me, I make a resolution that this year, this very year, this is the year I’m going to fall in love. On the eve of 2022, I changed it up, and decided that this would be the year of going after what I wanted. As someone who is naturally quite shy (hard to believe when I am often the one chatting the most shit and most outrageously dressed at any party), I like to wait for things to come to me. But unfortunately for us introverts, that is not how life works. You have to make your own luck, and if you want something, you have to tell people you want it, and sorry to say, go out and get it.
My New Year’s resolution was more professionally aimed at myself this year, me thinking that I would put myself out there and ask for opportunities – which after holding my breath, closing my eyes, and sending that send button, I did, but funnily enough I found that philosophy bleeding into all areas of my life – and not just my professional one.
When I look back on 2022, as much as it has been a year with struggles, it’s also been a year full of huge growth for me. There were weeks when I had no self-esteem, where I couldn’t fit into my clothes and felt at a loss about how much weight I had gained. On the other hand, I lost it all – on my own, no help needed – and finally regulated my eating and weight and feel happier than my body than ever.
I put myself out there, in more ways than one and reaped huge benefits. I made extortionate gains in my career, and I am finally, truly on the road to being the writer I always dreamed of being – and people recognize that in me. Hard to believe that people believe I’m more than just a girl writing into the void, but it’s proof that if you do what you love and you do it consistently, you’re on the road to somewhere – wherever it leads.
I put myself heart out there this year too, after thinking that perhaps that romance that people write about in books was just that – fiction. After feeling like I had no emotions for a while (where did all those overwhelming teenage crushes go?), I met someone new and got all those emotions back tenfold. Although it wasn’t to be, it’s a reminder that the world is larger and more surprising than even the most seasoned of us think, and that there’s always something out there, even when you think all is lost. If you’ve had your heart broken this year, remember that this will not be the last you know of love. Someone will walk into a bar, and your life will begin again.
All this goes to say, that even though every year I only made one resolution this year (which I stuck to, believe it or not), it shows that for most of us, the resolution that we wish for the most is personal growth. This year I’m going to get fit. This year I’m going to fall in love. This year I’m going to stop smoking. This year I’m going to get that promotion.
Although the majority of us won’t have achieved our New Year’s Resolution this year, it pays to look back to where you were when the year started, and how much you’ve grown since then. You might have achieved some resolutions that you hadn’t even known you wanted, and that’s worth paying attention to. Oftentimes we don’t congratulate ourselves on things that really matter because we think they are small. You may not have managed to kick your Marlboro Light habit, but you may have finally kicked that toxic boyfriend to the curb after he tested your patience one too many times. And it’s worth focusing not on the amount of times that you backtracked to someone that wasn’t good for you, but the one time that you had had enough. That’s the time that counts. That’s the big moment.
I think perhaps people take New Year’s Resolutions too seriously. They should never make you feel guilty for not achieving them, but they work as a good marker for where you were at the start of the year and where you are now. Have a think about all the ways you grew this year. It doesn’t have to be a connected to your NYR, but instead is a reminder that we are forever changing, forever growing, and it’s up to us what direction we grow in. Remember that as you make your reso for 2023: your life is what you make it, and what you do with it is up to you. Who do you want to be this year? How can you get there? How will you push yourself forward to take a step closer to the person you know yourself to be?