As we move through the first month of a new year, many of us will be making (or very consciously not making) resolutions for what we want to achieve in the next 11 months. Some people write their resolutions down, some have a vague idea in their minds of what they’d like to do or change with this fresh start. And some people are diligent about working towards these goals, but for many of us, they last through January before they are let go of or forgotten.
We may be disappointed when we think of the things we failed to do or improve, especially if we have a history of un-kept resolutions. This January, I think I am going to practice a different kind of letting go. Not letting go, for whatever reasons, of any newly formed resolutions that I realized I just could not or did not want to keep, but letting go of any baggage that I do not need to carry with me into this new year. If this is truly a fresh start, I want it to be just that. No strict expectations or demands of myself, but a clean slate and a light heart to face the year with.
Letting Go: My New Year’s Resolution
There’s certainly nothing wrong with aiming for improvement in the new year, although I do wish we all tried to be our best all of the time (as difficult and unrealistic as that might be). Instead of adding things, though, this year I want to let them go. Didn’t do what I set out to do in 2013? That’s OK. I forgive myself. Really. Without guilt or a grudge. Angry at someone or something, and still fuming about it? Release it. Let it go with the passing year. Know that this new year, that each new day, whatever the date, is our chance to wake up and try again, regardless of the past.
Instead of steeping myself in the failures I’ve had (and boy, are there a bunch of them), I will try to see each new day as a gift to try again. To try with a heart and mind that is unburdened from kept anger, or resentment, or fear.
My sister recently shared a startling quote with me – “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies”. There are many versions of this quote, attributed to many different sources, and no doubt it is very well known to many, but its bluntness and truth were new to me. When we hold on to jealously, to hatred, to anger, whose time and energy are we wasting but our own? How can we make new choices, follow new paths, try and finally succeed, when we are carrying these weights? And they are great weights indeed.
Each new year, each new day, each new hour is a chance to work towards being the best person we know we can be, a person to be proud of. Let’s give ourselves permission to let go of past negativity and start the new year with open hands, capable of anything, and an open mind and heart.