New Year's Resolutions are personal commitments or goals that individuals set for themselves at the beginning of a new year. These resolutions are typically aimed at self-improvement, lifestyle changes, or the achievement of specific objectives. People often see the start of a new year as an opportunity for a fresh beginning and a chance to make positive changes in their lives. It's important for individuals to set challenging yet attainable goals, considering their personal circumstances, resources, and the time required for sustainable change. Setting realistic expectations can contribute to a more positive and successful resolution experience.
Unreasonable New Year's resolutions are those that may be impractical, unrealistic, or set with expectations that are difficult to achieve. While it's essential to set ambitious goals, some resolutions may be unrealistic for various reasons. Common themes for New Year's resolutions include health and fitness, personal development, financial goals, relationships, and overall well-being. Individuals may set resolutions based on areas where they want to see improvement or areas of their lives they want to prioritize. Activists can consider various resolutions to make a positive impact in the coming year.
Here are 10 New Year's Resolution Do’s and Don’ts for Activists:
DO Maintain Hope: Gradual collective resistance, education of our community spaces on various realms of radical thought, and continuous participation in and organization of direct action efforts will ultimately result in transformation of our world. With a centering in holistic healing in which we prioritize listening intently to our bodies and minds in conjunction with self and community based monitoring to prevent burn out, it is critical that we maintain upward momentum and do not give in to individualistic thinking that seeks for us to isolate and disengage from deconstruction of oppressive systems.
DON’T Practice Toxic Positivity: Toxic positivity relates to a pressure to pursue a false sense of “happiness” in response to unproductive, overgeneralized sentiments that fail to acknowledge excessively difficult circumstances at hand. This mode of thinking or pressure from entities to pursue this mode of thinking can be particularly harmful to all of our communities as we navigate societal ills such as capitalism, white supremacist oppression, and structural (trans)misogy(noir). A denial of the realities that people face / alienation from our emotions / lack of empathy / overgeneralized denies human emotions
2. DO Educate and Inform: Resolve to stay informed about current issues and research relevant topics to enhance your understanding of the issues you are passionate about. Share this knowledge with others to raise awareness.
DON’T try to Achieve Perfection: Striving for perfection in all aspects of life can be unrealistic and set individuals up for disappointment. Perfection is often unattainable, and the pursuit can be detrimental to mental health.
3. DO Build Alliances: Commit to building connections with like-minded individuals and organizations. Collaborate with others to amplify your impact and create a stronger collective voice.
DON’T Try to Do It Alone - Work to Improve Time Management and Organization by enhancing productivity, setting priorities, and staying organized are common resolutions for those looking to achieve more in their personal and professional lives.
4. DO Practice Self-Care: Activism can be emotionally and mentally demanding. Prioritize self-care to maintain your well-being. This could include taking breaks, seeking support when needed, and incorporating stress-relief activities into your routine.
DON’T Put Your Advocacy in front of your own Well-Being - This is a classic fail for all of us and we need to hold ourselves accountable for taking care of ourselves! Don’t be afraid to spoil yourself a little with whatever makes you feel love, joy and peace!
5. DO Diversify Advocacy Efforts: Expand the range of issues you engage with and the people you engage with. This could involve exploring new variables within our different causes, learning about different perspectives, and addressing intersections between various social justice issues. Develop a broad range of knowledge across different disciplines. Interdisciplinary thinking can provide new insights and alternative solutions to complex problems.
DON’T Expand Your Advocacy Efforts Without the Expertise of the Community - We are a very diverse community and everyone's voice matters! Sometimes “leading” actually means “following” and working to be inclusive should be so much more than performative!
6. DO Amplify Marginalized Voices: Make a conscious effort to uplift and amplify the voices of marginalized communities. Actively seek out and share content from those who may not have the same platform or visibility.
DON’T Speak for Others - Allow Them to Speak Their Own Truth - Hearing others experiences and perspectives can make you a more effective advocate and listening to and implementing solutions for these critical lived experiences will remind you how important the work we do is and can often provide real insight into solving complex problems.
7. DO Cultivate Inclusivity: Ensure that your activism is inclusive and considerate of diverse perspectives. Strive to create spaces that are welcoming to people of all backgrounds, identities, and experiences.
DON’T Be Performative - Develop Organic Diversity Strategies - there is ALWAYS more than one way to do things! There are always more perspectives, more considerations and more ways to really connect with community members and drawing parallels between our problems and situations from unrelated domains can spark new ideas and bring fresh perspectives.
8. DO Engage in Direct Action: Commit to more direct forms of activism, such as attending protests, participating in advocacy campaigns, or volunteering for organizations that align with your values.
DON’T Become Saturated in Projects or with People Who Don’t Share the Same Objectives - Cultivate a curious mindset. Stay curious about the problem you're trying to solve, and be open to exploring unconventional ideas and solutions. Break down the complex problem into smaller, more manageable components. This can make it easier to tackle each part individually and identify creative solutions along the way.
9. DO Advocate for Systemic Change: Shift the focus towards advocating for systemic changes rather than solely addressing immediate issues. Work towards policy changes, institutional reforms, and long-term solutions.
DON’T Set Unrealistic Goals: Setting overly ambitious or unrealistic goals can set individuals up for failure. It's crucial to establish achievable and gradual objectives.
10. DO Stay Open to Learning: Acknowledge that activism is a continual learning process. Stay open to evolving your views and strategies based on new information and experiences.
DON’T Be Unwilling to Strategize with Others to Achieve Your Goals - Challenge assumptions by asking questions that encourage critical thinking. This helps to uncover hidden aspects of the problem and stimulates innovative ideas. View failure as a learning opportunity rather than a setback. Analyze what went wrong, extract lessons, and apply those lessons to future problem-solving endeavors.
To increase the likelihood of achieving New Year's resolutions, you can take several steps that will help you stay on track, encourage healthy dialogue an establish boundaries that will keep you from getting burned out!
Set SMART Goals: Break down your larger goals into smaller, achievable steps that are Sustainable, Measurable, Action Oriented, Reachable and Time Bound.
Create a Plan: Develop a detailed plan outlining specific actions and timelines. Be realistic about expected outcomes and anticipate challenges.
Seek Support: Share your resolutions with friends or family who can provide encouragement and accountability.
Track Progress: Regularly assess and celebrate progress to stay motivated.
Learn from Setbacks: View setbacks as learning opportunities and adjust strategies accordingly.
Ultimately, successful resolution achievement often involves a combination of realistic goal-setting, planning, perseverance, and adaptability.
So Happy New Year from SWOP Behind Bars!