New Year’s Revolution

Erin Lynn Nau, PhD, LCSW
3 min readDec 30, 2019

New years are always presented with such hope and possibility. Like a clean slate. We flip the calendar to a new page, a new book and suddenly we will eat better, communicate more clearly, spend less money, and exercise more. That is a lot of pressure for the change in one day. I have definitely gotten caught up in resolutions, in making dramatic changes. Most of these changes barely last into February.

This year, my only resolution is kindness. I resolve to above all else treat myself with kindness. I know that I will have to re-resolve this almost daily, but I think that is okay. It will be like a meditation of kindness.

When I fail at things, I will remind myself that failures can help me learn about myself and my life. When I am a vegetarian who does not eat any vegetables in a day, I will remind myself how privileged I am to buy any food I want and that I can eat extra vegetables tomorrow. When I lie on the couch watching an episode of a show I have seen many times (I’m looking at you Gilmore Girls) instead of exercising, I will remind myself that it’s okay to take breaks and recharge. When I ruminate on the mess in the kitchen and what a bad housekeeper I am, I will set a 10-minute cleaning timer and remind myself that I can finish the rest tomorrow. When I read a fluffy book about bookshops instead of analyzing data, I will tell myself it’s okay to finish a chapter and then get back to work.

A daily kindness resolution gives me the opportunity to change the way I see myself. It allows me to be less perfect or at least strive for less perfection. I know in reality there is no way I, or anyone, can be perfect. But that doesn’t stop me from being really hard on myself when I am not perfect.

Maybe if I am kinder to myself, in a world that is not very kind, I can impact the people around me and we can create a ripple of kindness. Maybe if I am kinder to myself I will get less furious at the terrible drivers who may be having a really rough day.

Maybe my kindness will infect the thousands of marchers around the country as we march against the fear and hate. Maybe my kindness will come through when I make calls and knock on doors this fall to get people to vote even if their candidate didn’t win the primary. Maybe my self-kindness can help other people to be kinder to themselves. Maybe our self-kindness can help to create a change we want to see in the world.

Self-kindness seems like a really personal resolution but I hope that by being kinder to myself I can see more goodness in this unkind world.

So this year I am not making a New Year’s Resolution, I am making a daily kindness resolution, a New Year’s Revolution.

Who’s with me?

Comment below with your resolutions or non-resolutions.

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Erin Lynn Nau, PhD, LCSW

Feminist. Social Worker. Researcher. I am a PhD candidate whose research focuses on self-worth and early adolescent girls. www.erinlnau.com