Opting Out of New Year’s Resolutions


My youngest daughter has asked each family member about their New Year’s resolutions. I keep telling her I do not have one, and she seriously believes this is a problem.  

What do you believe? Here is my take on it. 

I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve done that in years past, and I’m the only one disappointed. So why put so much stress on myself when I already have enough with just “life”?

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

So, how do I start the new year? I take the entire month of January and mentally review the previous year. I get into my pot of chili and stir and stir until all the stuff on the bottom comes to the top. Usually, what’s at the bottom is stuff no one else can see but me. I know it’s there and want to avoid taking it into the new year. Who better to tell me to change but me?

  1. What could I have done differently in my attitude toward others?
  2. How could I have been kinder and giving in a situation that I either neglected or chose to do “my way” without regard for others?
  3. What part of me do I need to change, void myself of, or mindset to rearrange?
  4. How can I see others without judgment and be more open-minded?
  5. How can I become a better reflection of grace, mercy, kindness, and love to others in the new year?
  6. I practice self-forgiveness and surrender my thoughts of guilt, shame, and self-doubt.
  7. What projects did I begin that still hold some measure of desire to complete?
  8. How can I bring peace to my life and those I hold close?
  9. What am I doing right now that is not working? Find it, analyze it, and stop it.

I write these down and take the time to reflect. What good would it do to rush through them? Then, I begin to let go of everything that feels heavy. In the action of surrender, I open my mind and spirit to new options for growth and new pathways of thinking. I do not look in the rearview mirror. What was done is done. I cannot change it, but I can learn from it. Most importantly, I do not choose to walk the new year alone. Along with my support system, I rely heavily and diligently on my faith.

This process is so simple, and since I’m no longer making New Year’s resolutions with such grand intentions that I know I can never keep, I do not set myself up for failure. I walk in peace. I embrace the New Year and don’t look back. 

“Each New Year, we have before us a brand-new book containing 365 blank pages. Let us fill them with all the forgotten things from last year—the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show, and the charity we forgot to offer.” — Peggy Toney Horton.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Goodson, MA, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor with an office in Winter Haven, FL. She holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. For more information, visit www.pathwaycounselingservice.com.

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