It seems that 2023 was the year we collectively decided we are done with New Years Resolutions. And good riddance. Nothing like welcoming the new year with a “new me” who is expected to achieve an unrealistic goal to really set the tone for frustration and disappointment for the next twelve months. I’m glad we’re moving away from this self-abuse and are embracing something better.
This year, rather than making a resolution, I’m simply compiling a list of things I intend to embrace and to release as I make my way through 2024. I am embracing things that bring me joy, peace, and personal growth. And I’m releasing things that bring me the opposite. I’m sharing my list for anyone who might want to do the same but doesn’t know where to start. Please don’t hesitate to take what resonates, add your own, and leave the rest.
To Be Embraced this Year
Balance over perfection.
This year, I embrace “good enough is good enough.” In all things, I will seek to do them well and to the best of my ability. But I will also offer myself compassion and grace, accepting that I am human and will err. I will miss deadlines. I will stray from my nutrition goals. I will lose motivation to exercise. And that is all okay. I embrace holding on to my goals loosely.
If I’m not careful, I will use exercise to punish my body rather than to love and care for it. This is why I have always been attracted to physically strenuous activities like Olympic Weightlifting or miles-long bike rides. In 2024, I am embracing gentler exercise. I will practice yoga and meditation. Take walks with my dog and my children. Stretch more. Take leisurely rides on my bike instead of painful ones. I will do exercise that energizes, rather than depletes.
Hard conversations with people who matter.
No more bottling everything up. Looking back, I have destroyed many relationships this way, and always with much confusion. My relationships don’t blow up; they just gradually fizzle away. And this, I’m realizing, is because I often stuff my feelings down instead of talking about them. This year, I will have the hard conversations. But only with the people who are worth it. Not everyone deserves it—least of all abusive or toxic people. For the people I love and care for, I will push myself out of my comfort zone to address the elephant in the room and work toward healing.
When I have the urge to scroll social media or watch a drama-filled YouTube expose video, I’m going to listen to an audiobook instead. Not only does this sound better for me as a person, but it also sounds better for me as an author. As they say, garbage in, garbage out. In 2024, I’m embracing books in, books out.
Multiple revenue streams.
2023 was the year I realized I’ve been missing out on found money. I discovered that I have numerous ways to supplement my income through my large social media platforms, which I have not taken hold of. Why am I not monetizing the content I’m already working so hard to create? Why do I share an internet link to Amazon when I could share my affiliate link and earn a commission? I’m realizing it’s a people-pleasing thing: I would rather not be thought of as a cash-grabber or an “influencer.” So, instead, I give away my hard work for free. There are ways to give away free content while still profiting from it, and in 2024 I am embracing that mindset.
To Be Released this Year
Late night binge-eating.
This is the single greatest obstacle to my fitness goals, and enough is enough.
In 2024, you will match my energy, or we will part ways. My time and energy are finite. When I choose to give them to someone, I give them completely. When I don’t perceive that someone is giving the same energy back to me, I often give more energy. I guess it’s my way of trying to earn their love. This year, I reject that. I release it! My relationships will be two-way streets or nothing at all.
The need to be understood.
Not everyone will understand me. In fact, some people will intentionally misunderstand me. I release the need to be understood. I release the compulsion to argue with people who decide to misunderstand me.
Glamorizing my youth.
I’ll be 39 this month. Although I am, in some ways, more confident than ever, I still find myself missing the energy and wrinkle-free skin I had in my twenties. This harkening back to my youth doesn’t serve me. Not only can I physically not go back there, but also, why would I want to? It’s easy to forget that, back when I was young and beautiful, I was also selfish, inexperienced, aggressive, and sometimes toxic. I release the desire to glamorize that time of my life. I’m better in every way now.
Comparison to others.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy, and this year I release it fully. I’m going to mind my own family, my own money, my own business. I think of that song from the musical Wicked. It goes:
’Cause getting your dreams
It’s strange, but it seems
A little, well, complicated.
There’s a kind of a sort of a cost.
There’s a couple of things get lost.
There are bridges you cross you didn’t know
You’d cross until you’ve crossed.
Everyone who has ever achieved a dream understands that dreams come with a cost. It’s easy to see the things they have achieved and wish we had the same, but we never know what they had to sacrifice to get there. So, I’m no longer comparing. I’m on my own journey.
Equipped with this list of things I embrace and release, I’m hopeful that 2024 will be a year of peace and growth. I will not chase impossible goals that, by their very nature, set me up for failure. I embrace patience and gentleness with myself, understanding that all things I need will come to me in due time.
Amber Wardell is a doctor of psychology and author who speaks on women’s issues related to marriage, motherhood, and mental health. Subscribe to the free newsletter to get exclusive content delivered to your inbox and to never miss an upload.