A Twist on the New Year’s Resolution

In Columns, Features, My Life: Straight Up with a Twist by Tashauna Swanson

Audacity Magazine Impossible

Tashauna Swanson

Resolution is a loaded word and is simply a glorified term for the act of setting a goal, but with more pressure attached to its completion.

I don’t even remember the last time I tried to set a New Year’s resolution. I am thinking it was more than ten years ago.

A new year is symbolic of starting fresh and trying to make sure the upcoming twelve months are better than the last.

It is great to look forward to the future and what exciting things may be ahead. Unfortunately, I think resolutions sometimes take away from the anticipation of new days to come.

Humans are creatures of habit. We all have our vices, good and bad, that we have chosen over the years and we cannot or will not get rid of them. People are not quite equipped to quit things cold turkey.

In a stress and wellness class I had taken early in college, we learned it takes around four to six weeks to break a habit. It is not impossible for anyone to change something in their life, but it does take time.

This seems to be something everyone forgets. Society wants instant gratification. When it pertains to resolutions, there is not any instant gratification to be had.

A number of years ago, I became fed up with hearing about resolutions.

All I heard being spewed out of the television were ads for exercise equipment, work out videos, diets, and developing a “new you for the new year.” It was driving me crazy as it does every year around this time.

During the holiday season, companies commercialize off of our desire to perfect our images. Self-improvement is a worthy goal, but only if it is for the sake satisfying oneself. In other words, change your life because you want to and not because someone else wants you to change it.

Since I did not want to succumb to resolution making back then, I came up with something different. I opened up a new document on my computer and called it “T’s Life List.” I began to list different things I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime. I listed about twenty or so, and then I stopped.

At the top of the page I wrote the ultimate goal of this whole list. I needed to complete at least fifteen of the then twenty-two items by the time I turn forty-five years old.

I gave myself over a twenty year deadline; however, some of the items listed were tasks I knew I would not be able to accomplish in the following five years, let alone ten or more.

The goals I listed ranged from being easily attainable, to a few more imaginative ambitions that could be deemed a touch unrealistic but not impossible. The easiest one on the list was to get my nose pierced. I completed that act in 2002.

Another feat I listed was to be able to live more independently when I graduated from college.

I am happy to say I completed that as well. A third goal I mentioned was to own my own business, or at least be in a partnership. I can cross that one off of my list. While my run with the company did not last, I do not view it as a failure.

It served as a learning experience and taught me more about myself and who I want to be.

Many of my objectives are travel related. These are probably some of the most difficult to attain. One of my goals states that I need to travel to one country on another continent that is not connected to North America.

Although, that specification pretty much just rules out South America. Another is to visit the Taj Mahal in India, the country I would like to travel to the most. Traveling there would eliminate two aspirations at the same time.

After I developed my list, I saved it, closed the file and pretty much forgot about it. I remembered finding it a couple of years later while backing up my hard drive. At the time, I think I had completed maybe two items on the list. I closed the file again and forgot about it for another couple of years.

Two laptops after I hastily typed out this page of intentions for myself, I still have the document. I remembered I still had it the other day and went searching and read it again. I realized I had completed five of my goals. I have kept some of them in the back of my mind, others I wrote down and have not really given them much of a thought since. I have a few things I want to add, but I do not plan on changing what is already there.

The point of my list is not to complete everything on it. My original intent behind it was to go against the grain of the traditional New Year’s resolution and do it my way. I do not feel pressured by it, and I think it is a good way for me to see what I have the ability to accomplish in the long term.

It is a great surprise to find that hopes you once had for yourself have come into reality without you even realizing it at the time.

Instead of setting another resolution, why not write your own list of life goals? Get a piece of paper or open up a document on the computer and just begin to list different things you want out of life.

Try to be realistic, but jot down a few things you might think are not as easily achieved. Encourage your dreams. Set a fairly lengthy deadline and a number of objectives you want to complete in that time. Put your list in a safe place, or save it on your computer in a folder where you will not see it every day and be reminded that it is there.

The best part is stumbling across it later and checking off your achievements and adding a few more.

As I write this article, as well as with every article I have written for Audacity Magazine, another of my goals is being fulfilled. I had a desire to be published someday, and it is even more worthwhile to be writing for something positive and with a purpose.

My outlook for the new year is optimistic. I am starting it off by moving into a new place! The past six months of my life have been extremely good to me, and as a whole 2007 was not too bad either.

I expect and hope for things to continue heading a positive direction and hope that 2008 finds everyone meeting their life goals and expanding their horizons.




Did you like this article? Read more articles from Tashauna’s column, My Life: Straight Up with a Twist! Comment and share with your community.

You can find Tashauna on Twitter

Read her own blog at Rangeelichick