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New Year, HAPPY You!

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I understand the appeal academically speaking. They’re a way to usher in a new year on the “right” foot; but starting the year off with a self-inflicted ultimatum really sets my anxiety off. If you enjoy a good resolution or two, I applaud you. I even envy you. They just don’t do it for me. And, apparently, I’m not alone in my dislike of resolutions. An article in Forbes written by Prudy Gourguechon, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and past President of the American Psychoanalytic Association, talks about how resolutions aren’t sustainable and can even set you up to fail. No wonder they make me feel anxious! When you are looking to change behaviors that work for you, those behaviors will be extremely difficult to change because they are working for you. If you try to cut out things that make you feel good, what will you do when you next feel bad? Without a plan you’ll go right back to what gave you comfort, whether it’s “good” for you or not. With no plan to address why these behaviors are “working” or alternative perhaps healthier solutions, you are doomed to fail. Resolutions are punitive by nature, and I know that I am better motivated by positive reinforcement. I think many of us are.

So, what should we do instead of making resolutions?  Gourguechon suggests reviewing accomplishments over the past year and then setting realistic goals. Many people are pleasantly surprised when they sit down to review what they accomplished in a year and the act of recognizing these accomplishments lays a wonderful foundation for setting attainable goals in the new year.  Maybe you did a great job of beautifying your lawn this year and you think you want to start a garden. Commit to 45 minutes three days a week to plan and work on your garden. It’s vague but attainable. The garden may or may not manifest (I personally have a notoriously anti-green thumb) but you are working towards a goal and that is progress!

My goal for 2023 is to give myself more grace. What do I mean by that? There are many ways to define grace, but I like to think of it as being kind to yourself. As educators, we give so much of ourselves to others that there is often very little left for ourselves. It’s truly an honor to touch lives but we don’t need to martyr ourselves to be the best educators we can be. In fact, if we take good care of ourselves, we can take better care of our students. Resolve to register for that floral arranging class you’ve been eyeing. (WMA has just such a class scheduled for February, hint, hint.) Take time to go on family walks each week. Get lost in a new recipe and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Go to bed at a decent hour. And don’t feel like you must do all of this at once—that’s resolution talk. Instead, focus on one thing you can give to yourself. When you try to do too much and you fail, forgive yourself. When you are tired, rest. When you are overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe. Do at least one thing for yourself every day…something that brings you JOY! You are amazing and you deserve it!

Thank you for learning with us in 2022! We hope you continue to learn with us in 2023 as we celebrate WMA’s 35th anniversary!