I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’m changing things up this year and making a few New Year’s “un-resolutions.”
Perhaps it’s the campaign for irreverent and audacious aging I’ve been on since the publication of Courageous Aging: Your Best Years Ever Reimagined. The oppositional-defiant “almost 70-year-old” in me is sick and tired of making New Year’s resolutions. Having been hell-bent on self-improvement most of my life, I want to free myself of the shoulds, coulds, and ought to do’s. Taking a break from making agreements I might or might not keep; pressuring myself to be better, smarter, thinner, healthier, richer, and happier version of myself; giving myself a sabbatical from striving, stressing, and/or straining to willfully plan or control the future or make deadlines. . .is just what the doctor ordered.
2019 is the perfect time for learning the hidden benefits of taking a step back and letting things evolve naturally. This could add immeasurably to the quality, length, and enjoyment of my life, not to mention my relationships. I‘ve decided that my unresolution for the new year is going to be “let it go!”
And so, with all due respect to procrastination-ending promises, spirited goals, deeply held commitments, and fresh starts, I’m opting out of New Year’s resolutions and treating January 1st, 2019 as just another precious day. The sun will rise and fall in the absence of anything resembling a resolution. My un-resolution, to spend more time leaving all well alone, resisting having to resolve anything, letting go and relaxing will go into effect.
I will, of course, remain open to positive change and self-improvement this coming year. My contrarian inner-child has not taken over and I’m not going over to the dark side. Nor am I opposed to making things as good as, if not better, than they’ve ever been. I’m actually counting on having one of my best years ever in 2019. I’m making it a priority to lighten up, calm my heart, unplug from unproductive drama, feel grateful for what I already have and become a little more “Zen Ken.”
By lightening up, I’m going to allow myself to move through the moments, hours, days, weeks, and months of this new year allowing, rather than pressing, to get things done. Allowing my moods, motivations, energy, dreams, aspirations, habits, and patterns to rise and fall with the sun will be a refreshing departure from my task-driven way of life. How to do this will, of course, be a challenge—I imagine there will be lots of deep breaths, saying “no,” and biting my tongue and catching myself stressing when so many things are unraveling in the world around me. But I’m ready. Taking time off from exerting effort and forcing change will open new doors of discovery. And I’m excited.
Resolving not to lose weight, work less, get healthier, save the world, make more money, eat better, learn to play the guitar, grow my business—or even be a more loving father, fiancé, son, brother, and uncle is already driving a few of my family members crazy. “How could you be so negative?” one of my positive-think friends asked when he read this post.
Driven by my ardent willfulness, pressure, adrenaline, and “never enough” messages, I have failed to allow that which is already unfolding in me, and in the world, to emerge. This year, I’m going to get out of my own way, step aside, and trust that the better version of me will awaken if, when and how it’s ready to do so. I’m ready to see what good things can bubble up without champagne-induced New Year’s Resolutions—and run with them.
Signing off gratefully and wishing you an especially joyous holiday and new year,