Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Forget New Year's resolutions. Write a Wish List instead!

Yes, I know I'm not perfect. There are bad habits I'd like to break. I want to exercise more. I want to eat more vegetables. I want to lose weight. And I'd like to write every day and blog every day and start that vlog I've been meaning to start.

But I don't write New Year's resolutions.

I don't like the idea of them. It just seems so negative. They're all about what you don't like about yourself, things you want to change. They make you feel bad about your past. And that negativity continues when you inevitably fail to keep some of those resolutions. Then you feel doubly bad about yourself, first for the things you wanted to change, and then for your inability to change them.

That's why instead of writing New Year's resolutions, I write Wish Lists. These are lists of things I want to do or have. We're not talking about an Amazon Wish List. Many or even most of the things on them can't be bought. They're just whatever you wish for in the future, whether it's success, good health, a quiet place, or anything else you dream of.

I usually write a Wish List at the start of summer or a week or two before my birthday. The idea came to me when my husband told me he gets me lame presents because he doesn't know what I want. Now he has a list. Not everything on it is something he can give me, but that's okay. There are things he can, and things he can work out sort of giving me. Like he can't give me good weather to take more walks, but he can go for walks with me.

So instead of focusing on the negative, write a Wish List and focus only on the positive. And every time you wave your own magic wand and make one of your wishes come true, you can cross it off your list.

One summer, my family got together and wrote a list called "The Summer of 100 Wishes." It was fun crossing things off that list, like movies we wanted to see or trips we wanted to take. We probably did 50 things we wouldn't have done if we didn't have that list to spur us on.

My latest Wish List, which I wrote before my most recent birthday, includes things like "See a great stand-up comedy show." I was happy to cross that off my list after the opening night show at this year's New York's Comic Con.

So forget about making New Year's resolutions. Forget about feeling bad about yourself. Instead, make a Wish List.

What would be your top five wishes for 2014?


Deb said...

I really like this. Good, creative idea for helping us all stay positive and accomplish things in the future (doesn't all have to be this year).

Jan Clifton Watford said...

I think this a great idea. I like the idea of focusing on positive instead of negative . For myself I want 2014 to be a year of positive energy working towards new opportunities that can be the realization of wishes for my future.

Shevi Arnold said...

Thanks, Deb!

Jan, a year of positive energy is a something we should all strive for. Great idea!