February 2022 INTOUCH Magazine

Page 31

C O M M U N I T Y | VO I C E

Aiming Low in 2022 WORDS NATHANIEL ROWE ILLUSTRATION TANIA VICEDO

T

he heading on the whiteboard in the entrance to the WeWork office where I worked from over the New Year period read “RESOLUTIONS,” with a subhead “How will you be a #BetterYouIn22.” Underneath, people had attached cards with their goals for the year ahead. Intentionally or otherwise, the subhead wasn’t framed as a question. It appeared as a forgone conclusion: We shall all be better in 2022—whether we like it or not. Now explain precisely how. It’s axiomatic to say that the past two years of the pandemic have been a challenge for everyone everywhere (except for billionaires). Our collective sense of time has been badly blurred and bent out of shape, with one year infecting the next without the customary, exuberant celebrations to bookend the year. In this ongoing, mutated uncertainty, it’s fair to wonder how we should approach 2022. Should we bother with the millennia-old rituals of resolutions and goal setting or just chance it all? What would the Babylonians

(the pioneers of New Year’s resolutions) do if they were around today? Add another mud brick to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or self-isolate in their reed houses? In a recent article in The Atlantic titled, “Resolutions Are Not the Vibe for 2022,” writer Faith Hill argues that the uncertainty of “choosing new goals feels like setting forth in a snowstorm, squinting into a great blurry expanse.” She isn’t making any resolutions for 2022 and implores people to follow her lead. Apparently, research reveals that resolutions don’t work in any event, and if your goals aren’t calibrated just right—not too narrow, not too challenging, not too many, but in the Goldilocks zone—you can just be setting yourself up for self-flagellation. Less forthright, but on the same self-compassion track, Melbournebased clinical psychologist Ahona Guha encourages us to lower our expectations in 2022 in a piece on Australia’s ABC website. Acknowledging that we’re all completely knackered by the constant cycle of upheaval and dis-

ruption, she advises everyone to chill. Sure, pursue a few little goals if you must, but don’t bust your guts doing it. Rather, she asks us to be “gentler and more compassionate with ourselves, and accepting [of] our limitations.” Personally, I seem destined to perpetually bump up against my myriad limitations. And yet I carry on, big goals in ravaged hand. Then, over the holidays, I saw the new Spider-Man movie with my kids. While digesting the anti-New Year’s resolutions advice I had read, I noticed a common thread amid the web-slinging action. Even an upbeat, young Spider-Man—in accepting his own limitations—needed two Spidey sidekicks to help him manage life’s heavy burdens. His girlfriend, MJ, coped by just flatout expecting disappointment in life. Whether your New Year’s resolutions are rooted in tiny or atomic habits, may your 2022 be bright—but not so bright that it burns you out. Nathaniel Rowe is a Member of the Club.

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