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Friday Writing Prompt: New Year Resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions are… controversial. Many people find them stressful and unhelpful. I am one of those people. I feel like there’s pressure to make these resolutions, to set ourselves ambitious goals. And I know that resolutions are a cliche, and nowadays we “set intentions''. You say potato. You can’t grow up in a capitalist, production-oriented society and not treat those “intentions” as targets.

On the other hand, however, I’ve found myself this week drifting, aimless, and that’s a significant source of anxiety for me. And yes, I try to tell myself that just being is enough and that I have worth even when I’m unproductive. But, like I said, capitalist society.

So I’ve been thinking about a way to reframe resolutions and this whole process, to find a compromise between production-line and generalised anxiety. Suleika Jouad of the isolation journals invites us to jot down five lists that I have found helpful to settle into the new year:

  1. What am I proud of?

  2. What do I yearn for?

  3. What’s causing me anxiety?

  4. What are the resources in my toolkit?

  5. What are my wildest ideas?

I found this exercise much more helpful than resolutions. I highly recommend clicking the link and reading Souleika’s post. She has some more detailed guidance and is generally a fantastic person.

This exercise got me thinking about something Austin Klein says: forget the noun, do the verb. So instead of resolutions, I want to focus on reflecting, re-energising, and reinventing, three verbs that these lists helped me do.

I have another list for us: what are some verbs I’d like to be doing in the upcoming months? I want to be writing, reading, cooking, exercising, and breathing. Probably not in that order.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on New Year Resolutions and anything you’d like to share that came out of this post.


Prompt: Hey there! I would love to hear whatever you're willing to share that came from the prompt. Please comment below or click on the chat window, even if it's only to tell me that you've found this prompt useful.

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Shazz JE
Shazz JE
Jan 07, 2022

Great post, which has gotten me reflecting. I like the concept of setting intentions for positive change/personal development. However, I find the confines of New Year or even lent very much a transient and temporary change, not setting people up for success. I think Soulieika Jouad's questions are very focusing & helpful. I tend to set "an intention" at random points in the year, when I have a plan on how I'm going to succeed and how I'm going to manage potentially compromising situations. For example, I stopped drinking alcohol in November two years ago such that took advantage of several situations which supported continued success my change.

Sorry, bit of a ramble!

Jan 07, 2022
Replying to

Not at all, Shazz, thanks for sharing! I agree that reflecting on our path is something best not left until the end of the year ;)


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