I can’t think of one New Year’s resolution that I truly kept. Despite that, I was still motivated to make them for many years. Unsurprisingly, they typically involved doing more exercise, eating better, and learning that language/instrument/hobby that I’d always thought I’d enjoy or be good at. But for a while now, I’ve been resolutely anti-resolution. Not that I’m against making changes and aiming for self-improvement, just that the “new year, new you” mantra had proven itself a failure time after time.
While resolutions may seem focused on positivity (healthier! stronger! more interesting!), they’re usually borne out of discontent. We want to escape the disappointments we have in ourselves, and we’re looking for a reset that we can relaunch from, a quick metamorphosis into the better form that we were always destined for.
But what the new year can provide is a milestone marker, and these are helpful for recognizing and celebrating growth. Like a kid who measures their increasing height with a notch in their doorframe every birthday, we can use the new year to look back on our own growth, instead of using it as an attempt to flee our demons and disappointments.
The key is to celebrate those moments of growth and success, and orient yourself towards how you’re going to recognize the opportunities to apply them in the year ahead. It’s the difference between seeing the year ahead as an opportunity to be a better you based on what you’re becoming, not what you’re escaping.
There’s no question we’ll bring some things along with us into 2021 that we’d rather leave behind, but if we forgive ourselves some flaws, and reflect on where we have improved, we set ourselves up for a year of continuous improvement, rather than an unrealistic leap to an imagined perfect self. For me, seeing growth is my greatest motivator - I just have to take the time and opportunities to look for it. For that, the new year is a great moment to do so.
In reflecting on my 2020, I see personal growth in resilience, the ability to put disappointments in context, and increased honesty and authenticity with friends and family. I expect that 2021 will be more of a roller coaster year than usual, with all the ups and downs of building a business, and I’ll be leveraging the skills that were tested and improved in 2020 to meet those challenges and celebrations.
2020 put us all a fair way out of our comfort zones. What did you do well that surprised you? What did you get better at over the year? How do you see that growth helping you in 2021?
Here’s to another year of growth. 🥂