This surely is awkward. Do people even write letters to themselves? Sure, the net is brimming with all sorts of open letters but having never written one before I thought it would be a fun thing to do until of course I actually started writing it.
I guess that’s the case with most things. And, why resolution lists and their failures are so popular – we go into the new year armed with a long list of what we have to tick off our wish list and how amazing we will feel when said thing is done without accounting the twists and bumps that will come our way.
If you look back at your resolution list for 2014 did you achieve even a quarter of what you set out to do?
You never stopped biting your nails, you still like to indulge in marathon sessions of Grey’s Anatomy and let’s not even get into Mission 60kg. You never did sign up for those swimming classes, you still like to sleep in on a Sunday instead of going for an early morning run like the girl in the Nike ad and let’s not even get into the ‘Gratitude Project’ you gave up in January itself.
Reading this may hurt but that’s because you set the boundaries to your achievements by making that list.
If you had taken into account the fact that you’d essentially be working a 70 hour week to grow that fledgling business of yours that you are so passionate about while also taking care of family through their sickness, adjusting to a new marriage and taming your dreams to take on the world all the same time while making that list then you’d have cut yourself some slack.
So, instead of berating yourself and buying a brand new book to make that all important New Year Resolution list, Stop! Take a moment and be grateful for all the amazing things you did achieve this year. It was you who (sort of) effectively juggled both work and business to grow BawiBride to where it is at today and it was you who left everything for 3 months at a moment’s notice to care for those she loves the most amongst several other undocumented achievements.
Do you really need a list of things to tick off to make you feel better about who you are? You don’t. Because, at the end of the year it is not about everything turning out okay. It is about being okay no matter how everything turns out.
That’s easy to say, I hear you thinking. How can I be okay when I didn’t even achieve half of what I set out to do? If I only achieved a quarter off my list this year, isn’t having one even more important? Surely, without it I won’t be able to get even that much done. And then, where will I be?
I guess the reason you arm yourself with a long list of to-do’s, not only at the start of the year but from the moment you open your eyes each day is because you want to challenge yourself and prove to the world that you can do it all. Yes, of course I can plan PR strategies in an hour, cook a meal for four, answer 30 emails, review a restaurant, proof read an annual report and pump out 2 blog posts, all in a day.
Forget about seizing the day, I am the master of seizing every goddamn minute! But, did doing this all year really get you happiness – which at the end of the day is the main reason for the list? Or did it leave you feeling like you needed to get that one more thing done before you could lounge about in your happiness pajamas?
Learn then that of course, you can say yes to everything and you can achieve everything you put your mind to but that you likely won’t be very productive and therefore by extension won’t be very happy. Instead, in the words of the philosopher Lao Tzu, this year, ‘Practice not doing and everything will fall into place’.
So then, am hoping by now you’ve got the message. This year, try to not have a long list of things you need to achieve and try not to define exactly what happiness will look like. Because, what you expect may not always be what you get. But, by accepting this fact you will unknowingly get things much more important than you expect.