I used to make resolutions. They were mostly about weight, food, appearance, exercise and numbers. Five years into recovery from a host of eating disorders, and I don’t make resolutions anymore. I ask questions. Yes, I still question (and examine) physical habits, but I take a balanced approach including all the other areas of my life as well (spiritual, emotional, relational, intellectual and vocational).
Resolutions imply I have succeeded or (as is usually the case) failed; they deal in perfection. Questions ask, “Am I on the right track?” and define progress. Resolutions can be legalistic; questions are filled with grace. Resolutions generally cause me to give up, while questions invite me to try and beg me to stay curious. Resolutions are the unforgiving taskmaster and questions are the cheerleading squad. Resolutions look like impossible, impassable, impermeable concrete walls topped with barbed wire; questions look like intentional boundaries – picket fences with pretty gates. Resolutions are the enemy to my personal recovery; questions help me grow deeper and journey further.
Here are 5 questions I ask myself:
What do I have to celebrate from last year (last quarter, last month, last week)?
On the flip side, what do I need to grieve? (Sometimes for these first two questions, it is helpful for me to make a timeline drawing, taking a year one month at a time or a month one week at a time, for example.)
What are my priorities at this stage in life? (Do my decisions, progress, time, relationships, and money reflect these priorities?)
Moving forward, where do I see a need for tweaking or improvement?
Where do I want to be this time next year? In three years? Five? How will I get there? (Think first in bigger leaps, followed by more finely-tuned steps.)