The Year Without Resolutions
Around this time last year, I was searching for a way to top my Year of Yes. I was left with a year full of memories and a blank page, trying to figure out how to plan out a better year, knowing that I couldn’t possibly top the one I just had. As I stared at that blank page, I had this idea to try and do the opposite of trying to have it all figured out—what if I started the year without writing anything down? What if I just kinda went with the flow?
Are you panicking yet? I was too.
After an internal struggle of trying to define a year I wanted to live undefined, (Wait, what? Oh, Hi there Anxiety!) I decided to see what The Universe had in store for me, instead of deciding what I had in store for myself. My only rule was, if I heard The Universe tell me something or saw a sign to do something—if I had an urge or desire to do it, I would focus on that as a goal for the year.
As a life planner, I was insane. For the first time in my life I didn’t want to write anything down and I live off check lists. Those things give me a natural high. Check lists hold me accountable, they give me an adrenaline rush when I get to cross something off. Letting go of that addiction was hard, but it made me approach the new year with an open mind. Literally, there was nothing on the page. I had no choice.
Challenge accepted Universe. Bring it on!
Of course, The Universe accepted gladly and guided my steps throughout the year. Accepting the challenge myself, I wanted to take my life to the next level and so I did. Looking back at it now, holy shit I did a lot…
I turned this blog into a website I owned and re-branded/redesigned the whole thing in a month. I read 110 books this year. Yes, you read that right. I started volunteering again. I took a solo trip to Ireland and figured out what I wanted out of life. I started writing a book and had 35,000 words in a month. I went on a hunt for new friends and found some old ones too.
I found my voice online when it came to political issues and managed to keep the peace. I continued to take myself on dates and even went to a wedding by myself, where I had a blast. There are pictures that make it look like it was my wedding. Seriously, a blast.
I continued saying yes to the things I wanted to do and started doing them, instead of dreaming about it. I changed my mind set from I would one day, or I’ve always wanted to do that, to: I’m doing it next month or I’m doing it right now.
It wasn’t easy.
Changing a mind set is NEVER easy, especially your own. We are always at a constant struggle with ourselves internally. Starting out the year on a blank page gave me the opportunity to work on myself in ways I didn’t think I could. I took the pressure off, but that didn’t happen instantly. While I was doing amazing things, I wrestled with my own mind, breaking barriers for myself and trying to find answers I didn’t know I needed.
Even though I did a lot this year, I fought myself the whole way. We can’t forget about our worst critic–ourselves. A lot of times, when we see someone’s highlight reel on social media, we think that everything is perfect. Although I had many blessings this year and went after what I wanted, battling with myself to get there was not easy.
It was confusing, frustrating, and exhausting at times. But that’s exactly what growth feels like. Growth isn’t easy, it’s not comfortable. Growth is change and you can’t expect to magically get where you want to be without a fight.
If you’re thinking about giving a year a blank start or focusing on a year where you do what you want, it’s worth the fight. It’s worth the internal struggle. I’m here to tell you that it’s possible and that I’m still alive at the end of it all.
I will say the thing I missed most this year were my check lists and over the course of the year, I learned how to use them as a planning tool instead of a control. A lot of times we try to plan things but get really disappointed when things don’t go as planned. Living a year with a blank page taught me how to not worry about things that weren’t in my control. It taught me how to plan with purpose instead of control—how to balance trusting The Universe with what you want.
So, 2017 may have started out as the year of Tomorrow Never Knows, but it took a whole year to get there and understand what that would mean for me. For it being a year without knowing, I sure knew a lot after it was over. I think the secret to life is to be wiser than you were before the year started.
You can measure that however you want to, (That’s also part of the secret.) If you’re reading this and are looking back on the growth you did this year and you’ve thought of one thing, you’ve already won. No matter the size.
LOVELY LIFE LESSON:
Give yourself a chance. Taking a year to work on yourself and stepping in blindly without goals or expectations does not make you lazy or a mess. You’re actually on to something. Letting go of the pressures of society to build something, seek answers, and even grow in the process, is something that will knock the year out of the ballpark for you.
There’s no sense in comparing past years, nothing happens the same way twice. If you take some time to start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do and actually did them, you’d learn a whole lot about yourself in the process.
Remember that nothing in life is easy, especially when you’re looking for the life that you want. Take a year to mold yourself, transform yourself, and break the limitations that you are holding yourself behind. So that this next year, instead of saying New Year, New Me, you say: “Holy Shit, You’ve been here all this time? Nice to meet you. I can’t wait to see where we go next.”