Birthday Resolutions over New Year’s Resolutions

For many, the start of a new year comes with some resolutions and goals for the next 365 (366 this year!) days. Someone said to me today that most people actually set “wishes”- I wish to be 10kg lighter by the end of this year. And then don’t actually do anything about it. A resolution, or a goal, has to be something that you can and will actively work towards and strive for. Only then will you achieve it.

Rather than setting myself New Year’s resolutions, I’ve started to think of a number of things I’d like to achieve between my birthdays. I started this when I turned 27, following a suggestion from a friend, and found that it enabled me to thoroughly enjoy my year around the sun because I had things to work towards and plan for. So come the 1st January, whilst everyone else scrambles to think of resolutions to set themselves and grumbles about how bleak the start of a new year is, I am already well on my way to achieving my goals, and feeling pretty positive about it. During my 27th year on this planet, I learned to drive, I visited two new countries, and I learned a new skill (macrame). So when I turned 28 last September, gone was that feeling of despair at getting another year older and in its place was a sense of accomplishment.

It’s a funny thing, getting older isn’t it? Whether it’s reaching a birthday milestone or starting a New Year- and in 2020’s case a new decade- I had always felt a little sadness at what came with those ‘new beginnings’. There’s that sort of mild panic that accompanies turning another year older: where am I going? What am I doing? Why aren’t I ticking off the same “life” boxes as everyone else? But then I realised that this was always going to happen, I was only going to continue having birthdays and getting another year older or seeing in a brand new year. So why not just own it? I started creating my own boxes to tick off and with that came this amazing new sense of joy.

On my 28th birthday, I remembered everything I had achieved in the last year, and celebrated. It didn’t even have to be a physical thing I had achieved- I also celebrated how I had grown emotionally and mentally. Because that’s one of the greatest parts of getting older, you do actually get wiser.

So what are my goals for my 28th year? I would like to learn how to sail; pick up and start to learn the ukulele I bought myself years ago; visit one new country; begin my family tree; and write more. I know the last one is a little vague, but I have a number of plans for my writing that I haven’t quite fine tuned yet, so I’m okay with setting a more vague resolution just this once.

So as you all start thinking about those half arsed new year resolutions you’ve set yourself, why not take a hot minute to think about something you really want to achieve this year, and start making some plans about how to work towards it. For now, I’m off to find that ukulele…

Don’t make resolutions without an action plan.

The secret to success is right in your hands.

J. Allen Shaw

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