Dust off those running shoes. Put down the smokes. Order a salad.
It’s a new year, people! So stop what you’re doing. It’s no longer good enough.
The turn of the calendar to a new year is a great time for reflection. But, under pressure to declare a resolution, I think we tend to focus too much on the negative. “Sure, it was a great year, but what am I still doing wrong?”
At least that’s what I found myself asking.
I first thought back to last year’s resolution, which, unsurprisingly, I forgot about in March. Then I thought about my resolution the year before (guess who still smokes), and pretty soon I was on a roll with a whole glorious list of my shortcomings.
Finally, it was time to pick one. Which personal failure would I address this year? So many good ones! How could I possibly choose?
In the end, I couldn’t. When it came time circle and double-underline, my pen was dry.
My motivation was gone. The positive momentum I’d built with some pretty big accomplishments over the year had stalled. My eagerness wilted. In its place, sprouted anxiety and disdain.
“Why bother? You won’t follow through, anyway.
“Resolutions are dumb.”
And, with that, I closed the notebook.
It wasn’t until days later, reviewing our portfolio to select our submissions for this year’s ADDY Awards, that something clicked. “We really did some amazing work this year,” I thought.
And it’s true. We did good this year. Not just “well,” but actual “good” - working with non profits and volunteering our time to local causes we’re passionate about. We took risks, investing in new equipment to expand our service offerings. We pushed each other, sometimes hard, to grow creatively and produce our best work to date. We landed and executed our largest projects ever. We developed relationships that will last a lifetime.
And I’m sitting here beating myself up because I didn’t lose weight.
So I pulled out the notebook, grabbed a fresh pen and started over. This time, eschewing personal deficits, I focused on accomplishments. Those of myself and those of the people who surround me.
It wasn’t long before this new list dwarfed my previous.
One of my favorites was the award I got at our company holiday party for “Best Food Face 2015.”
You see, with this new list came a new perspective. I may have failed to lose weight this year, but you know what? I love food. I thoroughly enjoyed eating a lot of it this year, and apparently my coworkers even enjoyed watching me.
So I’m not here to tell you “New Year’s resolutions are dumb.” I thought about it. But, as it turns out, they are not. As with most goals, it’s really about the path you take to get there.
And the path I encourage you to take just happens to also be my New Year’s resolution:
Don’t be so hard on yourself.