Healthy Living

Happy New Year! What Are You Building Towards? | by Dr. Carly Hudson, D.C. | Jan, 2022

Dr. Carly Hudson, D.C.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I know it is typical to start the new year like a ball shot out of a cannon. I felt the same way every time I started a new school year, as well. Here is a blank slate and a fresh page. I am not behind or jaded by the hard work ahead of me. And if I just move fast enough, I can stay in front of all the work that is to come. This time, I am sure it will work. And so we sprint into the new year with meal plans, gym memberships, color-coded journals, and daily writing prompts, hoping to move fast enough to stay ahead of the bad habits we slammed the door on at the stroke of midnight 2021.

Well, the homework always caught up with me. And who we once were is still who we are, despite the turn of a calendar page. Running to achieve something different is exhausting and demoralizing in its own way. It acquaints us with failure and frustration, and perhaps teaches us we aren’t meant to succeed or be anything besides not quite enough.

Many years ago, after failing to outpace the deluge of work put forth by my postgraduate career and long after I gave up new year’s resolutions as a tiresome tradition, I finally stopped running to keep ahead. Instead, I invited all that I was (and still am) and all that I had to do to walk beside me into the new year, the new semester, the new moment. It changed my focus. Now instead of trying to outsmart all that life is and was, I could survey it in each step. My attention turned inwards and I started asking myself, “How are you doing with this walk? Do you need rest? Food? Water? What would make this an easier path?”

My resolutions became practices of changing my foundations and resiliency. Sometimes I would get a reward that so often graces the tops of New Year’s Resolution lists, like improving my grades or feeling a change in my body. But, more often than that, I would find that the measurable outcomes were not actually what I was hungry for at the turn of the new year. I was looking for more understanding, strength, and health. These things cannot get scratched off a list, but rather grow with us year by year.

And so year by year, I could see a difference. I grew stronger by deliberate action and meeting myself at the foundation of my needs. New resolutions found themselves wrapped in the slow and steady momentum of time without the pressure to outrun an old version of myself that I was leaving behind.

As you approach the wild unknown of 2022, may you take stock of what you do know: who you are and what you would like to become. Slowly, and deliberately — without hurry or checklists.

How are you doing?
What do you need?
What would make this an easier path?

May you give yourself permission to walk steadily into the new year, meeting yourself just where you are.

–Dr. Carly Hudson, D.C.


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