Stressed out by New Year’s Resolutions? Try a New Year’s First
Does the idea of setting New Year’s resolution make you want to take a second nap or pour some more eggnog? Do you hate the pressure of picking something and sticking with it for the next 365 days?
Do you want to improve your life in some way, but know deep down your apathy is rolling its eyes at your conviction? Don’t worry. I may have something for you. All you have to do is glaze your eyes over the next few paragraphs and then you can nap.
My wedding anniversary is January 2. My wife, Emily, and I have always struggled to celebrate it because it falls in that hang-over part of the holidays where it’s time to get back to work, get the kids back to school and in general return to the grind.
A blend of celebrating our anniversary and a New Year’s resolution
Serves us right for getting married between college semesters. If Emily and I could take off just one more day, we could celebrate that milestone that is meaningful to us. However, we’ve come up with a compromise that is a blend of celebrating our anniversary and a New Year’s resolution. We call it a New Year’s First.
We’ve decided to celebrate our anniversary and New Year’s by doing something neither of us has ever done before. Just one thing, one time. Once we’ve done it we’ve met our goal. Win.
You could say, “Hey, we’ve never ordered that kind of pizza before. Let’s try it.” Call in the order. Boom. You’re done. Success. You could say, “I’ve never done a triple feature at the movies before.” Get down to the multiplex, buy tickets for three back-to-back movies and settle in. Success. Or if you’re a little more ambitious, you could say, “I’ve always wanted to watch the sunrise.”
Check online to see what time the sun comes up, get out of bed ten minutes before that, walk outside and face east. Stand there for ten minutes. Success.
Two paragraphs done. You’re doing great. Hang in there.
One year Emily and I watched the sunrise in South Carolina. We live in NYC, so we’d never done that before. We stood on the beach and the wind blew cold, but I still remember it. One year we went to our first yoga class. I had no clue what a downward facing dog was, let alone a savasana, but I muddled through.
Now I hold a crow’s pose for thirty seconds every morning, well most mornings. Another year we went to Piper’s Kilt, a hamburger joint in our Manhattan neighborhood we’d been meaning to go to for years. It was completely worth it. The burgers were delicious.
Tackling the bigger “firsts”
Nothing long-lasting came of that, but it was a great burger. Further on in years, we tackled some bigger “firsts.” One recent January 2 we decided to go sailboat shopping. Neither of us had ever shopped for a boat, and we had no idea how we could afford a sailboat, but we went anyway.
I pestered two brokers between Christmas and New Years and had appointments to visit boats in Connecticut and Rhode Island. It was a deeply cold, windy day and—unlike most of our anniversary “Firsts”—we brought our kids along.
We’d been bootstrapping our way toward a dream of learning to sail and living on a sailboat with our kids before they graduated from high school. They were in on this trip too because we were, in essence, house shopping.
We ended up not making an offer on either boat, but it broke the ice of fear that was keeping us from feeling like we could afford a sailboat. The following year, again on January 2, we closed on a 38’ catamaran. We’d never bought a sailboat before, so we picked that day.
One month later I quit my job and we spent that year sailing with our five kids from St. Martin back to Manhattan on a shoestring budget.
Not being a big fan of new year’s resolutions
I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Too much pressure. But when it comes to the New Year, I like to do one new thing; a First. Once I’ve done it, it’s a win. I’ve started my year off successfully and set the stage for good things to come.
If you’re worried about the stress of a New Year’s resolution, consider picking one new thing and giving it a go. Who knows where it will lead. Now pour yourself some eggnog and enjoy your nap.
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