MY LUNAR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
Feature photo by LI HAO on Unsplash
I want to deconstruct the boundaries that have constricted me to the arbitrary rules that forbid me from free expression and exploration.
Following the unexpected whirlwind of 2020, I debated whether or not to create New Year’s resolutions for this new year, knowing it could only add pressure and disappointment if I never got around to the goals I set. But throughout the first few weeks of the new year, I realized that new goals were naturally popping up in my head. Even though December and January are adjacent, the nominal turning of time always feels like a fresh start to me, encouraging me to escape the burnout and overflow of a long year. However, unlike any other year before, my 2021 resolutions are more introspective and less superficial — largely a result of being alone with my thoughts for a full year. In 2020, I was devoid of my usual distractions - whether it be hanging out with friends, the commutes to and from school - and I began to see how much of myself needed healing. Being alone posed a greater challenge than I expected and as I enter 2021, I hope to continue my journey to self-love, self-acceptance, and inner peace. Here are the resolutions I set — resolutions that no longer have an expiration date but that serve as guides alongside me.
Unlike any other year before, my 2021 resolutions are more introspective and less superficial — largely a result of being alone with my thoughts for a full year.
Engage in self-care
For a while, my “self-care” included rewarding myself with 8+ hours of sleep, scrolling mindlessly through TikTok, and binging Netflix (all of which I still do) but my self-care was never intentional. I would give myself the necessary breaks to keep functioning, but I never saw self-care to be an additional practice outside of my usual habits. Ironically, it was through TikTok, where I saw creators practicing meditation, yoga, and manifestation, that I discovered what it means to really take time to reconnect with myself. Rather than distracting myself, these practices help me take care of myself. Through yoga, I can take care of my physical body; through manifestation I can take care of my mind; and through meditation I can take care of my soul. This year, I hope to fully integrate these practices into my regular routine. I have begun to carve out space and time for self-care and it is easier and more accessible than I had expected it to be — because now, my intention can easily uncover all that I had been blindsided to before. On Youtube, I have found guided yoga and meditation videos, and every morning, I choose a positive affirmation to say to myself in the mirror. I have also begun a journal for manifestation - which is simply writing down my goals for the present and future. While it might be hard to keep up my practices as I get busier, I will remind myself of all the unconscious “self-care” practices I took previously (ie. laying in bed on my phone) and encourage myself to transform them into conscious practices.
Listen to my intuition
The other day, I was sitting at a café with my friends and I noticed a man wearing a fedora and a casual suit, sipping his coffee as he sat in front of the café’s outer facade - forming an old New York scene straight out of the 20th century. I had brought my notebook and pens and felt so drawn to capture what was in front of me, but I was hesitant to take it out under the gazing eyes of my friends and the general public. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to give justice to the beauty of the scene in front of me. Upon reflection, I saw that the biggest obstacle I face is my own fear. Because if even such an inconsequential drawing could be extinguished by my fear, imagine how many more, larger creations, ideas, events have been extinguished because I was too afraid to see them through. I ended up drawing the scene in front of me and while it is a small feat, I was still proud to have put my pen to paper and done something I enjoyed without worrying about the end result or external perceptions of my work. This year, I want to let my intuition drive me, rather than my fear. I want to silence the noise blocking the pursuit of my dreams and go towards what I know will bring me fulfillment. I want to embrace my dreams and goals head on, recognizing that I may not be the best at what I do and I may even fail at some endeavors - but knowing that the process of doing is what makes it all worth it.
This year, I want to let my intuition drive me, rather than my fear.
Express more gratitude
One of the biggest revelations that we have collectively shared as a result of COVID-19 is that we took many things for granted. Throughout the pandemic, my friends and I have lamented activities from concerts to even the commute to and from school. It turns out that it is often only when you lose something do you realize its value. This year, I want to express more gratitude, so that I am no longer regretful for what I once had, but appreciative that I was able to have it at all. To integrate gratitude into my daily life, I want to make it a habit to write down the things I’m grateful for at the end of each day, which can include anything from the latte I had to the shower temperature being the perfectly right warmth. I also want to say “thank you” more often to the people around me - even if there is no direct reason to warrant the expression.
Step out of my comfort zone
“Don’t spend your time on Earth being a watered down version of yourself just so people can like you.” Upon stumbling across this quote, I realized that I had often let other voices outweigh my own. I often limited myself to a zone of what felt safe to me, which meant safe from any overt expressions of difference or novelty in order to flow with the currents of society. But this year, I no longer want to settle for what’s safe nor accommodate myself to the world around me. Instead, I want to make decisions without the filter of external perception - whether this means posting whatever I like on Instagram even if it doesn’t fit aesthetic standards or trying an activity I wouldn’t have otherwise done. I want to be more spontaneous and go on road trips and (safely) have conversations with strangers. I want to deconstruct the boundaries that have constricted me to the arbitrary rules that forbid me from free expression and exploration.
Move my body
With virtual work and school, I find myself confined in my room for hours, days, and sometimes a week at a time. Therefore, my last resolution is to simply move more. As mentioned before, I want to integrate a regular yoga practice into my routine, but I also want to have other options of movement where I don’t have to change clothes or roll out my yoga mat. Even just going out and taking a walk around the block can be a refreshing change of scenery. I also plan on having spontaneous dance breaks in my apartment and I invite you to join along.