The Practice That Helps Me Begin the New Year on the Best Note – Wit & Delight

The Practice That Helps Me Begin the New Year on the Best Note - Wit & Delight

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I love making lists. The act of writing all my thoughts down and having them organized with clear bullet points into my favorite notebook gives me a false sense of control.

Look at all the things I’m going to accomplish! Look at all the ways in which I’ll improve!

What I usually hate is having to actually stick to the lists. Unrealistic goals and expectations add pressure to an already busy life, and resolutions made in January inevitably become a chore by February.

As it turns out, asking myself to read a book or two a month takes the joy out of reading for me. The same goes for vague promises I make myself to “explore my city more” or “save more money.” So I decided to stop making traditional New Year’s resolutions years ago. Instead, I began focusing on gratitude, downloading the app Grateful for daily use and logging more long-term appreciation in a journal. And when I replaced goal setting with gratitude seeking, I began to feel a lot more at peace, approaching myself with acceptance first and aspirations second. 

For a few years now, instead of writing resolutions at the close of each year, I make two lists: “What 2019 Brought Me That I’ll Leave in 2019” and “What 2019 Brought Me That I Want in 2020.” This shifts the focus from what I haven’t accomplished or what hasn’t yet happened for me to what I’ve already done. By taking stock of a full year, I’m able to better notice and…

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