Keeping my New Years Resolutions

I don’t have a great track record with keeping my New Years Resolutions. Waking up to the brisk morning air on the first day of a new year brings optimism and a renewed commitment to self disciple. But I have found that within a few months I have a hard time even remembering what my resolutions were.

2022 has been different in that regard. I set a resolution on the evening of December 31, 2021 and I have kept it up every day since. A 305 day streak. And the changes it has made in my mental and physical health has been quite profound. I want to share that with you now.

I don’t know about you, but to me the world, and our country more acutely, seems turbulent and chaotic like no other time I can remember in my life. And I have noticed that when I delve into news or political discourse it never leaves me feeling good. Physically it will leave my chest feeling tight and interesting it makes my whole body feel a little cold, like a momentary shiver on a winter day. And mentally it would leave me feeling lost, frustrated, and vulnerable.

So on New Years Eve 2021 I made the decision to replace my morning habit of consuming news with a practice my wife shared with me, the 5-Minute Journal. We use the iPhone app version of the 5-Minute Journal, but it is available in a paper version as well. The journal lives up to its name of just taking 5 minutes.
Here is what the process looks like for me upon waking: • The app opens showing me highlights of past entries and/or pics which make me smile. • When I hit the “Start Today’s Entry” button a positive quote or growth challenge greets me. • Next I am asked for “3 things I am grateful for?” • Following that I am asked “What will I do to make today great?” • Finally I am asked for my “Daily Affirmation” – something short that helps reinforce in me who I want to be.

So now eleven months in how has this habit improved my life? 1. I am not missing looking at the news at all. I did for the first week or so and then… nope.🙂 2. I have not been getting that tension / tightness in my chest feeling I used to have almost daily. Is that a physical sign that it helped me be less anxious? 3. I don’t want for things nearly as much as I used to. I feel genuinely content with my life and I’m not looking for a purchase or new shiny object to make me feel happy. 4. Overall I feel more care-free and I have less of a tendency to jump to judgment  about people and things around me. I find I am more of a curious observer and I like that mindset.

So from my new year’s resolution experience this last year I have learned two main lessons. One, it is important to set up a single, well-focused, resolution that I can accomplish. And two, it is critical to stick with it long enough to see the positive changes it is bringing to varied aspects of my life. As we approach new years eve 2022 I hope you will find peace around the life you want to live.

Our clinic is committed to your safety always—and especially during these strange times. Find out more about our COVID-19 policies.