Expanding Our New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to the New year, where we will pick apart all the things we don’t like about ourselves and find New Year’s resolutions to change them! 

Alexa, add “chill out” to my to-do list

One of my tragic flaws is my need for productivity. Even my leisure time becomes goal oriented. Like, the way I watch my shows on Netflix is framed as a task of getting through My List. 

My life is a continual to-do list, and I receive deep satisfaction for checking things off. Most of the time it comes in handy. Feeling accomplished for the smallest achievement can be great and breaking down large tasks into subgoals helps me manage feeling overwhelmed. 

It’s only a detriment when I do things not on my to-do list (like aimlessly scrolling on Instagram) where I feel guilt, and maybe a little shame. And that’s not ok.

Thanks for making me feel bad about myself, Capitalism

Our society is rooted in capitalism and makes us believe that our inherent worth is tied to how hard we work and how much we produce. When I spend time during the holidays left to the void, I feel a sense of guilt. There’s so much I could have gotten done during my days off that I normally don’t have time for. There is so much I want to accomplish to get better, be better. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day.

I saw this post on Instagram (while aimlessly scrolling, shoutout to @jordanpickellcounseling) about having New Year’s resolutions that are not about willpower or deprivation and how these goals can be rooted in guilt and shame. 

A post from the @jordynpickellcounseling page that says "Self-discipline is overestimated as a method of recovery, growth, and healing. Feeling our feelings, self-compassion, the courage to be vulnerable, connection, and community is so much more important (and effective). Pink and purple ombre background

We see so much stuff this time of year about weight loss and making money. Capitalism is great to sell us products aimed to make us feel better. Capitalism is also great for selling us this idea of making a bunch of money because rich people aren’t sad. 

Through capitalism, we fixate on the things we feel are not good enough about ourselves and want to change them. We look at the lives other people are living and forget to have gratitude for our own lives.

We’re expanding in our resolutions, not contracting

Resolutions and intentions should be about becoming a better person, yes, but it shouldn’t be about changing who you are because being yourself causes you guilt and shame. Find those sources of guilt and shame and love them harder. 

This time of year should be about expanding yourself and growing, not cutting away parts of who you are. But certainly, there are parts of you or things in your life that no longer serve you in your journey. Those things will shed because that’s a part of growth.

Less judgment, more love

Telling myself to stop being productive doesn’t feel realistic at all. The things that make me feel productive are, for the most part, things I like to do or things that I need to do in order to care for myself. Instead, I’m going to add more self-compassion tomy life for not accomplishing everything I think should be accomplished in the timeline I pressure myself to be on. Rest is just as important as the work to make sure everything sets into place.

There are a lot of things we can do and create and produce to make ourselves look better to other people, but what are the things we can do to be better for ourselves and uplift our communities? Those are the things we should be focusing on after the craze of the New Year’s resolutions die down and beyond.

Tayler Simon is a nerdy black woman in search of liberation for all. When she's not reading/listening to audiobooks and writing, you can find her laughing at memes and chatting incessantly about astrology (Cancer/Sagittarius/Cancer). Favorite genres: African American fiction and memoir.


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