I’ve noticed the idea floated in the last week or so not to bother with New Year’s resolutions (which I never have), but instead to pick a word or theme to guide you for the year. That’s an idea that fills me with excitement rather than dread. There is so much potential in a word and so much limitation in “I will do xyz this year.”
At first thought, I considered focusing on a word like “mindfulness” or “honesty,” but just as I’m considering it this morning, a new word presented itself — “playfulness.” Heck, yeah. I’m all for that. The idea of playfulness appeared so organically that I’m positive it will help me be who I am meant to be this year.
We take ourselves so seriously as we look ahead at the new year. We look for the one thing that will make us better — and by better, we usually mean some version of ourselves that would be more aligned with societal norms. We vow to exercise more or lose weight because that’s the tradition, or we commit to tackling a neglected project (hello, there is a reason that project isn’t done yet). Our resolutions typically involve working to meet some expectation that comes from outside ourselves — something that we may not want at all.
Even my original ideas for a focus word for the year, while intending inward attention, are loaded with heavy expectations. When I catch myself not being mindful or not being completely honest with myself, there is a momentary (really, only momentary, but there, none-the-less) disappointment at still not having gotten it right (with the added irony that I know I never will).
With a focus on playfulness, though, I look forward to having a break from taking myself so seriously. I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that in honing my reflectiveness, I’ve become hyper-sensitive in a way that often doesn’t give others the benefit of the doubt. My hope is that with a focus on playfulness, I will be less tied to desired outcomes and more able to enjoy each moment. Do I still hope to exercise more, read more good books, improve my discipline with journaling and blogging? Absolutely, but with playfulness as my focus I plan to have fun on the way.
Whatever your desires for the coming year, I hope you focus on something you can breathe into rather than hold your breath and white-knuckle your way through. So, what does your New Year’s resolution or focus look like? Does it reflect who you really are, or who the world thinks you should be? It’s never too late to change your mind.