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  • katherinestano

Instead of "New Year's Resolutions," Maybe It's Just a Pretty Little To-Do or Not-To-Do List

Updated: Jan 19

Literally the only resolution in which I could excel is not sticking to my resolutions. Let's put it on the list!

  1. Don't you dare do those resolutions! (And...DONE.)

Wow, doesn't it feel great to finally accomplish something?!

The first-of-the-year-pressure is why I don't make a New Year's Resolutions list anymore. It also feels a little rebellious, like I didn't study for the exam, but it's okay because I don't need that class to pass anyway! (Disclaimer: I probably would still study for the exam because I'm too rule-followery and, ugh, it's annoying.)

If the phrase "New Year's Resolutions" brings you a bit of anxiety, too, I think there's a way to establish goals without the added stress of must-stick-to-an-impossible-list. Plus, there's the whole cold January thing, and hiding under the covers sounds like the perfect goal at the moment.

All that being said, I do love lists. I'm a meticulous planner with lists constantly running in my head. And they're not the pretty little lists all neatly handwritten in precise columns. They're more like one notebook where I really tried super hard to make it look nice and organized, but then it devolved and there are random scribbles on random pieces of paper EVERYWHERE. Welcome to my brain. It's a strange, but friendly place!

Which is why I think writing things down, getting them on paper and out of your head, can bring clarity, structure, and peace. I just don't like the heaviness we put on ourselves if we don't get everything checked off. One of my ongoing goals is to be gentler with myself and not panic if everything isn't done just-so. Does anyone do anything just-so anymore? Who are these just-so icons of perfection? I want names!

So maybe it's a very tentative list with a bunch of easier-peasier goals and just one that's a little more challenging–for those who like extra credit. Overachievers, you're loved here, too!

You could try something like this:

  • One thing to improve your living space

  • One healthy thing you can do for your body, mind, or soul

  • One thing you can do for fun

  • One change to improve financially

  • One good thing you can do for the environment

  • One way you can help someone

Here–I'll fill one out myself!

  • Declutter five items while the coffee is brewing (maybe four–Keurig is fast!).

  • Listen to calming music during my lunch break. (Enya, I'm coming for ya.)

  • Learn a new song on the piano. (Nothing Mozart. Mozart doesn't need that kind of bad press.)

  • Eat out less. Instead, make a little thing called a sandwich.

  • Finally bring my metal straw when I go places I need a straw.

  • Write a letter of appreciation to someone I appreciate.

Girl outside with hat and sunglasses writing a letter

Resolutions can be short-term or long-term. They can change and morph into something else as you grow. They can be 100% fun. Because aren't we all just looking for a chance to make life as good and peaceful as it can be?

I know you are. Because you're here, trying new things, and getting grand tips from a resolutions malcontent! I think you're doing great. Seriously. If we're giving our wishes a chance and doing our best, that's pretty great to me.

Cheers to a new year of making easy lists, trying new ideas, and being good to yourself.

Hand holding polka dot wine glass in front of twinkling Christmas tree
My little pink tree. My polka dotty Kate Spade glass courtesy of my sister-in-law. My hand taking a selfie. Photo Credit: Me! Taken on iPhone. You can find more of my photography @katstanophotography

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