by Hailey Hechtman,
Twitter: @HaileyHechtman IG: @hailey.hechtman
Hailey Hechtman is a social impact leader and mental health advocate. She is passionate about inspiring positive change through community collaboration, constant learning and self-reflection. Watch her interview on 'Life Outside the Box' here.
"I am a sucker for the retrospective. The idea of looking back at a catalogue of my dreams, seeing which ones have faded to the sands of time, which ones sound ridiculously out of character and which ones have been my reality for quite a while reassures me that I am capable of so much more than I often allow myself to see on the daily."
At the beginning of a new year, each of us is encouraged to jump in with vivacious energy. We are told that to get to where we want to go, slay those big goals, or accomplish the dreams that have been set on the variety of virtual or tactile vision boards we have created, we must resolve ourselves to be a new version. To let go of all the impossibly annoying habits that kept us small mere days earlier and instead become this 2.0 that can seamlessly navigate the ever-growing list of demands that make up our must-dos and our love-to-dos. While this practice can build enthusiasm and an exhilarating freshness, it can also leave us with expectations that outpace our capacity for a full-human makeover.
Now, I know what you must be thinking — clearly by virtue of this critique — you do not partake in the act of pen to papering your grand aspirations, that your resolutions are not written out in an empowering notebook, likely with the words “you’ve got this” written across the front in an obscenely large font. You, however, would be wrong.
While I know that this way of hopefully diving headfirst into the year can leave even the highest energy people gasping and looking around head-twitching at what to conquer first, I still hopelessly romanticize it.
Why, you ask? Because I do believe the quote that “people tend to overestimate how much they can accomplish in one year and underestimate how much they can achieve in 10”— I am a sucker for a retrospective. The idea of looking back at a catalogue of my dreams, seeing which ones have faded to the sands of time, which ones sound ridiculously out of character and which ones have been my reality for quite a while reassures me that I am capable of so much more than I often allow myself to see on the daily.
This year, however, I tried a different tactic. I wrote out the approaches that I wanted to incorporate into the hours of my life more regularly (a decidedly softer stance than a hard, fast goal), put them into an email and scheduled the send to take place at the halfway point of 2023. On June 30, I received the note (admittedly one that I had nearly forgotten about) and was transported back to that optimistic moment in January.
Some of the activities have in fact become embedded into my routines—a little mindful meditation here, some morning movement there, the ongoing dedication to loving what I do. Others were a powerful recall of what I wanted to call in. Seeing that letter from within appear in my inbox encouraged me to reactivate the desires that were most needed then and could certainly add value to the rest of my year now.
The moral of this story is that despite the way new year’s resolutions have fostered a whole industry of planning and have become a staple to add to and quickly drop from your checklist by Valentine’s Day, this concept of giving myself a nudge gave me more than I could have known a mere 6 months ago. As we head into the latter half of the year, take some time to celebrate how far you've come already and take stock of all the ways you want to give back to the glorious, deserving and ever-hopeful you.