What I’m Doing Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions

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I don’t know about you, but making New Year’s Resolutions feels like a lot of pressure to me.

I mean, I’m still recovering from the holidays

In all honesty though, I feel like this every year.

The Chinese celebrate their New Year in early February and that makes so much more sense to me. Because by February, I think I’ll be ready to make some resolutions and set some goals.

For now though, I’m still incubating...

Let’s face it, the holidays are an overwhelming time. So much planning and doing, and all at a frantic pace!

Shopping, cooking, crafting, scheduling, traveling, going to parties and events, spending time with family and friends, and caring for children who are home from school.

While much of this hustle and bustle feels really good (the holidays have that warm and fuzzy feeling, don’t they?), it is also stressful on our brain and body.

Spending time with our family members often means our buttons get pushed. We get triggered. It can be a time when difficult emotional patterns resurface.

Anger, grief, anxiety.

These are common experiences felt during the holidays. It can be overwhelming and leave us feeling drained.

And even the fact that our daily routines are being interrupted (with all the travel and time off from work and school), can leave us feeling exhausted. Although we may crave and be happy for this vacation time, it is different from our day to day routine, which means it can wreak some havoc on our systems.

There is something to be said for the regulating effects of a predictable routine.

Your adrenals and nervous system really love the predictability of a routine, it’s nurturing. Our physiology thrives on things being predictable which is why a regular daily routine can help us live a long and healthy life.

But vacation time during the holidays is part of the fun and we should enjoy it.

However, it’s important to recognize that being out of our daily routine is a significant stressor.

So much can get out of whack over the holidays: our sleep schedule, the way we eat, our exercise routine, our emotional equilibrium, etc.

If we really think about it, there’s a kind of “ramping up” energy that starts with Halloween (especially for those of us with kids), continues through Thanksgiving, reaches a peak in December and finishes with the big hurrah of New Year’s.

Phew. Am I right?!

And then we’re supposed to make New Year’s Resolutions (you know, big, self-defining declarations about our lives) after that?!

HA! I don’t think so.

I don’t know about you, but I just need to recoup!

So this January, I am easing back into my normal routines and taking a deep breath now that the kids are back in school.

I’m enjoying the effects of balancing my sleep schedule back out again and am slowly weaning myself off the incredible pecan shortbread cookies my daughter perfected over the break. (They’re grain free. Here’s the recipe!)

So, that’s where I’m at, and that’s enough for me right now.

I’m just not ready to set big goals, make impressive New Year’s Resolutions or turn over some dramatic new leaf. I’m still gathering my wits and coming back into the “here and now.”

And besides, it’s winter. The days are still short and I feel like I need to hibernate a bit more.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t enjoy and indulge in celebration, travel and time with loved ones over the holidays...

All of this can be so good for the soul and really fun too!

But I do invite you though to reframe January. Rather than feel pressured to make resolutions and celebrate big changes in your life, let it be a time to just tune in.

Notice that you’re back in your life. And find out what feels good about that.

Maybe you’re quietly contemplating some goals and intentions. Maybe you’re realizing that some positive changes are happening naturally...like going to yoga sounds really wonderful, so you go and you notice how good you feel afterwards.

So from this place of quiet contemplation, you get to be with yourself...as you are.

It’s a simple way of being, where intentions for the coming year can naturally arise, in alignment with your authentic self.