Or: Why I Am Not Making New Year's Resolutions
Happy New Year everybody - I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve! I hope that 2017 will prove to be a happy and flourishing year for all of you and present you with wonderful opportunities, exciting adventures and valuable lessons. I don’t want to jump on the 2016 hate-train, but I am definitely not sad to see the last year go. I had to face many challenges throughout the year and at times seriously doubted my ability to feel positive and hopeful about the future and while I am proud to say that I have come out on top in the end, I do am ready to let go of the ghosts of yesteryear and want to focus on making new memories now.
I had grand plans to write a really deep post about why I am not making New Year’s resolutions this year, but upon review the following paragraphs seem to be more of an amalgamation of thoughts that kind of pertain to the topic of goal-making, but are simultaneously all over the place. I guess this more of a regular life lately post than an inspirational piece for the beginning of the new year, but I hope you will be able to get some sort of value out of it anyway, regardless of whether you have decided to make resolutions for 2017.
2017 is set to become a landmark year in my life. It’s (hopefully) my last full year at university and I’d be lying if I said that that thought didn’t freak me out at least a tiny little bit. I’m not afraid of the future, but I do fear disappointing myself and I certainly do feel a self-imposed pressure to be my absolute best. I have so many dreams and hopes for my life and I worry that I won’t be able to measure up to my own expectations. I don’t ever want to look back at my life and regret choices I have made or not made and while I know how important it is to let go of the perfect image that we have painted in our mind, doing so still feels like an uphill battle from time to time.
I won’t be able to let go of my perfectionism unless I take a conscious step away from it and that is the biggest reason why I have decided to not make New Year’s resolutions this year. In previous years, making all these well-intentioned goals come January 1st has often led me to spend a lot of energy towards becoming the kind of person I thought I should be, energy that would have been better spent on learning how to accept myself a little bit more, and therefore I’m changing my approach to goal-setting this year to one that is not only more realistic, but also in better alignment with my personality. I don’t want to spend time this year trying to become someone I am not. I’d rather put in effort to improve who I am already.
I’m not really sure how to bring this plan into fruition, to be honest, but there are a few things about myself that I definitely hold to be true and it seems sensible to focus on these aspects of my personality first. I know that I’m a writer and a photographer and so it makes sense to push myself to keep on blogging. I also know that I want to see the world and that I want to read a lot of books, so I’m going to have to make time for those pursuits. And since I appreciate rational behaviour and logical decisions, I am aware that the more idealistic interests of mine should never give way to the responsibilities I also have. Finding balance is never easy, but that it is why this goal is a journey, rather than a destination.
I’m not sure if these thoughts are going to make sense to anyone else, but they seem obvious enough to me in my own mind and so I hope that this approach will help me feel more guided in my actions. I don’t feel lost and most days I do feel like I am walking on the right path, but I do am afraid of taking the wrong turn one day and when that fear threatens to keep me from living my life to the fullest, I try to remember a piece of advice that some gave me years and years ago: That I shouldn’t worry so much about the big picture of my life and where I am going to end up ten or twenty years from now, but that I should make the choices that feel right in the moment. As someone that tends to live in both the past and the future that isn’t always easy to do, but even my logical mind can appreciate the wisdom in those words.
What does that mean for my plans for 2017? Well, it means that I will keep on making seasonal bucket lists, so I can remind myself to live in the moment and make the most out of life in Heidelberg. It means that I have set myself another Goodreads reading challenge so I can keep track of all the books I will read and stay accountable to keep on track. It means that I am going to do my utmost best at university, so I can graduate without regrets. And in terms of blogging, that it means I want to keep active on Instagram and publish one post on the blog a week, though these two goals aren't as high-priority to me.
I’m at that weird stage of life between the end of childhood (in a broader sense) and the brink of being an adult and if 2016 has taught me anything at all, it is that I am ready to take on the emotional responsibilities of adulthood. I am ready to stop looking at others for guidance so often and to make my own decisions instead and letting go of my tendency to want everything to go perfect all the time, is my first step in taking charge of my own life. Life is always going to be uncertain, but I'd rather face this uncertainty on my own accord than on someone else's and there is something immensely powerful in deciding to hold the reigns on your own.
It’s funny to see how much life can change in the span of twelve months. I am a much happier, stronger and more balanced person today than I was this time last year and I am already excited to see how deciding to embrace myself, instead of the image of someone else, will change myself in 2017. And I certainly hope that 2017 will be a prosperous year not only for you and me, but also for the world at large as well!