We’re well into January now. All the celebrations and parties are over—but if you made any resolutions on or around the first of the year, those are hovering over your head. At this point, the dust has settled. It’s time to come back to reality. And I’m sure most of you have noticed that despite your greatest hopes, life looks pretty much like it did last year. There hasn’t been some big, dramatic shift (especially not in three weeks.)
To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. I get why people make them. In the cases where you need to shift course in life, it’s important to feel excited about what might be—and it’s often good to write things down. But, at the same time, goals set for New Year’s tend to be more extreme than most, and there’s this unspoken expectation that they’re supposed to happen in a short amount of time. That can set many of us up for disappointment, especially if everything doesn’t come together magically. And when we start to feel guilty, we even sometimes convince ourselves that we really didn’t deserve to achieve our goals to begin with, which is a bunch of you-know-what.
I used to be that girl. I used to make a new list at the dawn of every year, describing what I wanted in life. And when I didn’t make those things happen, I lost hope and belief in myself—and my future. If I were to look over all my goals from previous years, I’d probably realize that I haven’t achieved 70% of them (maybe more). But the truth is, if you were to meet me now, you’d consider me satisfied and happy. I’ve accomplished more than I could have ever envisioned on some silly list. Many of the things we achieve, we don’t even know we want until we’re face to face with them.
All of this reflection has helped me realize that resolutions only create anxiety. Goals can’t be set in stone, because you’re always changing. And when you change, your perspective changes, and then so do your hopes and dreams. The goals I made five years ago, don’t apply to my life now—and I wouldn’t want them to. Both unexpected hardships and positive experiences have helped me become confident in my skin, and that had nothing to do with my own predictions scrawled on a piece of paper.
If you’re someone who made resolutions for 2014, this is about the time you might start to beat yourself up if you haven’t yet made as much progress as you’d hoped. Don’t do that. Instead, evaluate your resolutions with a very light heart. Go after your goals, but don’t take them too seriously, and certainly don’t hold onto that list as though your happiness depends on it. Let life’s opportunities surprise you, you’ll find that to be much more rewarding than any checking off of your resolutions.
Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood’s hottest stars are addicted to Kit’s unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit’s clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, “with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh.” Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.