If you have a New Year’s resolution that you return to time and again, promising yourself this will be the year you actually ___, you’re not the only one.
Fill in the blank: lose weight, write a book, become a morning person, exercise more, say “yes” to life Shonda Rhimes–style, start meditating, learn a new language, whatever.
Every year, you also probably see a lot of articles declaring, Here’s how to finally accomplish that resolution this year!, while tying your past failures to any number of things. Your goal was too broad, you didn’t make a proper plan, you don’t have anything holding you accountable, etc. etc. etc.
But if you’ve been keeping the same goal on life support year after year, claiming it’s important to you and still not following through, there might be another explanation for why you’re lacking the proper motivation, and for why this goal has started to feel more like a burden. Another reason why you’re failing.
Maybe, deep down, beneath whatever pressure you have put on yourself, beneath the time you’ve invested in trying and failing, and trying again, you just...don’t actually really want to do it anymore.
Seriously, how long has it been since you checked in with yourself and assessed whether you really want to accomplish this thing and the reasons why? People feel obligated, consciously or unconsciously, to stick with an old goal even if their life and priorities have changed, Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist in Pasadena, California, tells BuzzFeed Health. “Maybe you’ve grown and changed, and maybe it’s not really a priority for you anymore. That’s why you haven’t done it.”
If you’re not sure, do some soul-searching. Howes recommends thinking about your goal — or listing out your goals if you have several — and doing a gut check. “Take a look at each one and get a feeling for what that brings up for you,” he says. Does it feel stressful? Does it feel irritating? Does it feel impossible? Is it something you feel pressured to want to want, because completing it would push you closer to being some sort of “better” by society’s standards? Or is it actually something you’re really passionate about and that, if you’re being honest with yourself, you just haven’t put your all into trying to accomplish it?
You get the point.
So, before you use the new year as an excuse to recommit to a goal that you’ve been holding onto forever, please ask yourself:
ARE YOU SURE?
DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS?
It’s okay if you don’t. You can just...not. You can dropkick that fucking deadweight goal back into 2017 where it belongs and free up your life and brain space for figuring out what you really want to do. And oh my god, you’ll be so much happier for it.