I don’t know about you, but I am not a champion at fulfilling New Year’s resolutions. Maybe it’s because I am not that good at setting them. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Since there are those resolutions that seem to be on the list year after year, like get in shape, I wondered if it was possible that I was doing something wrong? Every year, I try to do something a little different. In the past couple years I re-evaluated my short-term and long-term goals rather than just thinking of obvious results I wanted. This year I am adding reverse resolutions to goal setting.
What is a reverse New Year’s Resolution?
It’s a resolution you make after the result rather than before. Honestly, it doesn’t even make sense to call it a resolution since I didn’t resolve to do anything specific. It’s more of a way to check oneself, to reflect on how the life is going.
I tried it. I asked myself “what did you do this year that would have been worthy of a resolution?” I thought mindfully on a couple occasions. It made me happy to relive the sights, smells and sounds of best decisions of the year. I’d seen, accomplished and learned so much.
I’d set foot on four continents in the first two weeks of the year. I’d slept in the Sahara Desert, crossed mountains and walked in the Ocean by the end of January. I camped in a cave in the middle of Turkey, soaked up sun on a beach in Greece. I stood in the footsteps of the forefathers of Western philosophy. I cycled the green heart of the Netherlands and walked from there to Belgium and Germany. All the while I took some of the best photos I have ever taken. Hell yeah.
But… I also worked another season in construction, swinging a sledgehammer and shoveling concrete in the hot sun one day, in the rain the next. I paid off debt and saved every other penny. Part of saving meant saying no to things I would normally want to spend money on, including going out with friends. It wasn’t something I’d call a resolution. But it was part of the short-term and long-term plan. It was part of the resolution matrix. I like using the word matrix.
I’d achieved personal growth, growth on paper, crossed a lot off my bucket list and decided what I wanted to do with my life… oh, and as an added bonus, I fell in love. Hell yeah.
Let me tell you the most important lesson I learned: It felt better to pat myself on the back for worthwhile accomplishments than to once again step on the treadmill of false promises.
Writing my reverse resolution
I guess in hindsight my resolutions for the year I just finished would have been something like this:
- Push my boundaries and face fear.
- Let love into my life.
- Revive my travel/photojournalism projects
It sounds better than an arduous list of chores, of reminders of how we are not our ideal selves. The rewards are just a side effect of living a lifestyle where resolutions are not even necessary.
What about the future?
I couldn’t resist looking into the future with renewed aspirations, but kept them simple and as extensions of existing, written goals that do not depend on January 1st to come into reality:
- Carry on with the personal growth and discipline, especially letting go.
- Take Inspiration Travels and Jesse David Photography further – get 1,000 followers.
- Do something significant and selfless for struggling people.
One thing is for sure: I’m going to India in a week. I’m going to meditate and do a lot of Yoga. I’m bringing my camera and a hunger for storytelling. And there are a lot of struggling people there. I might do okay.
To paraphrase Neil Gaiman: May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to care for yourself. Be mindful. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
TO BE CONTINUED IN ONE YEAR…
What do you think? Do you have any different ways of approaching goals for the new year? Leave your comment below.