The Year of the Non-resolution Resolution (Or, Why I’m Not Making Promises I May/May Not be Able to Keep This Year)

I’m done with resolutions.

My husband is mildly horrified at the idea, but he’s wise enough not to say anything. He’s also wise enough not to try to guilt-trip me with his own (I’m sure) extensive list, just as I won’t question his decision to make the list in the first place. (It’s this kind of mutual respect that will ensure our marriage makes it to the 31-year mark later this year. 😉 )

But to get back to the point of this post, why am I done with resolutions?

To be honest, I’ve made a lot of them in my ahem fifty-some-odd years. I may even have kept some of them. But I really don’t know, because the ones I kept aren’t the ones I remember.

Instead, I remember the ones I didn’t keep. Losing 20 lbs over the year, exercising every single day, writing a thousand words a day without excuse…believe me, the list is extensive. I don’t know if everyone’s brain is wired this way, but I know that mine is ruthless about remembering my failures–and reminding me of them over and over and over.

And I’m done.

I’m done with the failure, I’m done with the guilt, and I’m absolutely done with a major root cause of both.

But wait, you might be thinking. It’s a NEW YEAR. You HAVE to have at least one resolution!

To that I answer: nope, I don’t.

But…what will you do? How will you track your success? How will you know if you’re reaching your goals?

I suppose I won’t, if you’re into measuring such things. I’m not. Not anymore. And certainly not since reading a blog post from my friend Melissa Joulwan, where she put into words an idea that had been brewing in my own head for quite some time:

“So I got the notion to try something different. For the first time in more than three decades, what if I didn’t set a physical goal? No weight loss, no “leaning out,” no target time on the clock or weight on the bar. Instead, what if I simply behaved like the best version of myself?”

“The best version of myself.” Without concrete goals. Without time limits. Without failures resulting from life veering off on an unforeseen tangent. Mel’s words were the concept I had been searching for. A guilt-free way to meet the challenges of a new year head-on, with the built-in flexibility I need to handle all the ups and downs, all the lessons, all the roadblocks.

Instead of setting myself up for near-certain failure, I’ll just behave like myself. The best version of myself. The one who, as Melissa says in her post, refuses to be measured by some external yardstick and who knows there is no gold star for good behaviour. The one who knows that the clean eating and the exercise and the telling of stories (okay, that last one’s mine, not hers)…they’re not the way to a reward, they are the reward.

And so, as I balance on the cusp of reflecting back on the old year and looking forward to the new one, I’ve decided that the only promise I’ll make to myself this year (and every year to come) is to live life my way. To be the best version of me. It’s my non-resolution resolution, courtesy of my wise friend Mel.

Onward, 2018. I’m ready for you.



“…the clean eating and the exercise and the telling of stories…they’re not the WAY to a reward, they ARE the reward.” The Non-resolution Resolution (Or, Why I’m Not Making Promises I May/May Not Be Able to Keep This Year)

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6 responses to “The Year of the Non-resolution Resolution (Or, Why I’m Not Making Promises I May/May Not be Able to Keep This Year)”

  1. Reanna Avatar

    OMG Linda! This post is awesome. It sums up my feelings on the ‘resolution’ subject perfectly. I needed this today. Thanks so much…and Happy New Year! <3

    1. Linda Avatar

      I’m so glad it struck a chord with you, Reanna! Happy New Year, and all the best with your own non-resolution! <3

  2. Heather Avatar

    It’s been quite a few years now since I last made a New Year resolution. I had decided I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of it, for all the same reasons you describe, Linda. Instead, for several weeks leading up to the new year, I would watch for recurring themes or words and, when the right word(s) came to me, I’d always know. And that would set the tone for me. Last year, after several major life changes in 2016, I realised that 2017 was not supposed to be about me; that I needed to go outside my centre, to focus on others, and that the journey of peace, contentment, and gratitude could only be sustained in one way – by practicing kindness. This year those words ring true, again, and I’m thinking I’ve found something for which I’ve been searching for a very long time.

    Thanks for sharing your “no resolution” resolution. ?

    1. Linda Avatar

      What a truly beautiful outlook, Heather! That describes my 2017, too. Hope your 2018 brings what you’ve been looking for! <3

  3. Belinda Avatar

    I have been making this my resolution for over 10 years, “I will live every day to the best of my abiity”. Some days it’s easy some days it’s not.

    1. Linda Avatar

      Very true, Belinda. I think that part of being the “best me” is allowing ourselves room to handle the rough times as best we can, knowing that it’s enough. Happy New Year!

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