A Time for Reflection..or Not
As this year draws to a close, I notice a strong impulse among my peers—both personally and professionally—to want to reflect on all things past and set intentions for all things future. I get it; I do it too. I actually love checking in with my Year Compass and am eagerly looking forward to sitting down with it on January 2nd (because January 1st is and only ever should be a movie marathon day)!
However, if you’re scrolling through your newsfeed and getting the impression that you simply should do some reflecting and/or you should establish some 2021 goals but you don’t feel the least bit inspired about it, here is your permission slip:
Stop “shoulding” on yourself. You don’t have to do ANY of it.
The end-of-year holidays are a funny time in our society. We get all decked out for Christmas—whether we’re in the mood to fa-la-la or not—and we indulge with copious amounts of treats of the savory, sweet, and alcoholic variety for weeks. Then when the clock strikes midnight, we vow to stop drinking, to go to the gym, to finally write that book, or start that business, or [insert other lofty goal].
And lofty goals are fabulous, don’t get me wrong. Lofty goals are what make life worth living!
BUT, feeling overwhelmed by those goals or obligated to come up with them merely because a certain month of the year is coming around the corner is ludicrous!
YOU are the only one who is allowed to create “shoulds” in your life. If YOU want to set intentions, then set intentions. If YOU want to deep dive into reflections on the year past, then deep dive away, baby! But nobody else gets to tell you how to feel or structure your life. If all of that sounds like a waste of time—skip it! Or if it sounds useful but arbitrary, then hold off until it feels more meaningful to you.
Instead, start on your next birthday, or work anniversary, or plain old April frikkin 3rd—because why not? You don’t need a random number on a calendar to tell you it’s time to seek clarity in your life. In fact, this might not be the right time to sit down and evaluate where you’re at anyways as so many of us are feeling out of sorts and already out of our routines knowing that the holidays are coming up.
As an alternative to the mob mentality of getting mindful right here and now, why not wait till the end of January when things settle down? When life feels “normal” again (although, ha! what is normal!?). All jokes aside, what I want to say is that you deserve to grant yourself grace. Take stock of everything you’ve had on your plate lately—and no, you don’t need to journal down that whole list. Just give yourself a solid minute to think about it. Then, once you’ve weighed that all up, ask yourself—truly and seriously: “Is it the right time to do this all FOR ME?”
And if it’s not, then it’s not. End of story. No hard feelings. No love lost. Just plain and simple reality, this is not the moment for you. You don’t even have to be able to articulate a reason why. If you feel it in your gut, that’s enough. Same goes in the opposite direction, by the way—if your intuition says “Yes, this kind of reflection and intention-setting feels right” then go-go-go with it!
Just please allow YOURSELF to choose, okay? You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing on Instagram. You don’t need to hold yourself accountable to other people’s expectations. You shouldn’t feel pressured into any of this because, really, at the end of the day no one can come up with positive goals from a place a fear! And that’s what’s driving you to do this work if it’s not your intuition.
Just the ego. Just plain old fear—the fear of missing out, the fear of selling yourself short, the fear of getting it wrong. All of those “But if I don’t then…” statements can essentially be tied back to fear. So, don’t subject yourself to that. Don’t get sucked in just because it’s “the thing to do.”
YOU DO YOU.
It’s one of the dumbest expressions that ever caught on, but I use it all the time because it just feels relevant. It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about, “you do you” is always the answer. And I hope you remember that this season.
Definitely a different vibe and a different kind of post than I would usually share, but none of the normal topics felt right when all I could think of was how much I wanted to share THIS message. So, I hope it spoke to you if you’re the one who needed to hear it!
Wishing you all the best for the new year ahead!