Navigating the New Year: My Current Perspective on Resolutions
Updated: May 4
The concept of the "New Year's Resolution" is difficult to navigate.
Not so much on the surface. Definitely not.
Is there any little, tiny thing that you want to change about your life, your habits, your relationships, your health, your anything? Yeah, of course. We all have those.
So boom: resolution. At its simplest, the nature of the resolution is not hard to grasp.
Yet every year, I find myself shying away from the whole resolution thing and end up not resolving to do anything. I often wonder if I'm the only one that this happens to, especially since I believe that a lot of this comes from my time as an athlete. So here are my thoughts on setting goals and how my perspective has changed during my time as a pro athlete...
One year I was seated around a table with my teammates and my coach on New Year's Eve. (We were on a training trip, that's why lol) And in dreadful "first day of class ice-breaker" fashion, coach asked us to go around the table and say our New Year's resolution. And we all had to have one.
On the outside I'm showing my well practiced "too-cool for sharing, I'm above this look." Sassy, yet mainly unreadable.
But on the inside?! Battling that physical feeling of dread. You know, the kind where it starts in your neck and oozes down towards your toes like someone poured a bucket of dread-colored paint down your back.
Part of that was definitely coming from my aversion to sharing in groups, which is... haha a whole other thing.
The other part had everything to do with my relationship to goal setting.
I've learned that I have a relatively strained relationship with setting goals because of my sport. I can't really remember when it happened, but not only did I stop setting goals for my athletic performance, I actively told coaches, friends, family that I just straight up didn't have any.
Its actually kind of funny now that I type it out. How frustrating to ask an athlete their goals and have them respond with, "I don't have any, I'm just here for the ride." Ten points for being infuriating!
I truly don't want to blame athletics on my poor relationship with goal setting, but as I've unpacked and considered the seasons of my life, I do see that it played a role.
Track and field is, in many ways, an unpredictable sport. You can train as hard as you are able at practice, and then go and run multiple seconds faster in a competition. Sometimes you know your potential to surpass a personal record is there, but you can't always predict it.
The day I ran my Personal Best 800m I felt terrible and half expected myself to fall over halfway through.
At other times, I set goals that I saw as reasonably within reach, and then never got close. Or got really close just to lose it at the last second.
And those situations of disappointment devastated me. It's the coldest feeling to give your heart and soul to something and it not go remotely at all how you planned.
So a resolution above the surface? A sentence. A thought. Something you can think about for a few weeks and forget.
Under the surface? A resolution is a manifestation of your deep desires. Your current and future self-perceptions.
A thing that you potentially can fail at.
And that's scary!
One of the reasons we (humans), don't like to set goals is because it makes us vulnerable to failure and disappointments. No one likes to be let down!
This year, I've decided to confront my fear of resolutions. I want to set goals, I want to have something to reach for.
I think that my lack of writing these goals down or making them concrete in some way has resulted in less progress and makes me feel, for lack of a better word, stale. I want to take back my dreams and take steps towards them without being afraid.