I used to believe in New Year’s Resolutions with every fiber of my DNA. Whenever the last week of December rolled around, like clockwork, I’d sit by myself somewhere, reflecting on the year and all I accomplished. I’d think about my shortcomings and how to learn from those mistakes so I wouldn’t make them again. Then, I’d list out every goal I had for the following year. This excited me, as I consider myself a goal-oriented individual. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve since stopped using New Year’s Resolutions.
I was always ecstatic when putting together my list of new year goals. Like most people, I was determined to see them come to fruition, ready and willing to put in any amount of work necessary. What New Year’s Resolutions don’t take into account, however, is the uncertainty of this great venture we call life. There’s a lot that can happen to keep those goals you create from becoming actualized. For instance, I know several people whose resolutions for this year have been drastically altered or altogether thwarted by the ongoing pandemic, a pandemic that more than likely will see a second wave hit this country later on this year. This paved the way for feelings of anger, depression, and frustration among my colleagues, just to name a few of the more typical responses I saw. I get where they’re coming from because, at one point, I was in the same boat. Ordeals like these are why I’ve swapped out resolutions for something more worthwhile: “rememberlutions.” More on this in a bit.
When I was a child, I struggled to remain emotionally composed on an ongoing basis. Basically, I lacked consistency. My family described me as moody because of how quickly I could go from upbeat and lively to irate, melancholy, or melodramatic- all seemingly with the flip of an internal switch. “Fix your face” my parents would say to me, sometimes yelling it to get my attention. None of these tactics worked. Then, one day, my mother had an ingenious idea – whenever it seemed impossible to get me out of one of my sullen moods, a mood with the power to sway the emotional well-being of those within my immediate vicinity, she’d allow me to go into our family snack room and pick out a treat of my choice.
Initially, it was always Banana Twins; this was my go-to snack. I reveled in the chance to take my time consuming what I considered the greatest food on the planet. Sometimes, I’d even pretend to be upset just to get my hands on this choice treat. As I grew older, my interests shifted to something simpler and more commonplace – the cookie jar. I was always limited to one cookie per visit, so I’d wiggle my infinitesimal fingers into the cookie jar’s long, narrow mouth, searching for the biggest cookie I could find while being mindful not to drop the glass jar, causing it to obliterate on the kitchen’s hardwood floors. Yes, these were chocolate chip cookies, and yes, I made sure to pair them with milk, always placed in the microwave for exactly thirty seconds (I don’t recall where I learned this from, but I’d advise you to give it a try). This simple snack never failed to pick me up when I was feeling down.
These childhood experiences paved the way for me to transform my New Year’s Resolutions into rememberlutions. What exactly is a rememberlution besides a made-up word? Simply put, it’s a way of keeping track of anything worthwhile that happens over the course of a given year. It became discouraging to me whenever I’d put together a list of goals for the new year, usually centered around physical fitness, only to lose momentum by February or March. On a good year, I’d make it to May. This became an annual trend, one I was eager and ready to buck. So, I started keeping a log of everything I deemed significant that happened over the course of a year. That way, when the end of December drew near, I could look back at all of my feats, both big and small, replacing the feelings of dread that took hold when I failed to live up to my New Year’s Resolutions with a sense of pride. In a year like the one we’re currently having, I believe this stratagem can be useful to anyone and everyone.
Taking things a step further, I decided to turn some of my rememberlutions into a “cookie jar list.” I have nothing but pleasant memories from all of the instances where my mom allowed me to literally put my hands in our family cookie jar, at times soiling my face with the remnants of the cookie I ravenously devoured. It never failed to enliven my spirits as a child, no matter how distraught or upset I was. In retrospect, the problems I faced as a child are incomparable to the issues I now face as a young adult, so finding a way to enliven my spirit nowadays the way my mother did for me during my youth was important, imperative if you will. Even though I no longer have an actual cookie jar, I wanted to take a bright spot from my upbringing and tie it into my yearly rememberlutions. The end result, as mentioned earlier, is what I refer to as my cookie jar list.
In essence, it’s a list pinned to my bulletin board that highlights several of my most noteworthy accomplishments from my twenty-six-years of life. Traumatic experiences I’ve survived, possessions I’ve acquired, places I’ve gone, even prominent people I’ve met. All of this has a place somewhere on this list. The point of it isn’t to boost my ego, but to provide me with a concrete, physical, tangible list of some of my life’s greatest milestones. During the lows we experience as humans, it’s sometimes hard to see past those unwelcome moments and want to continue to press on. We become engrossed in negative emotions, feelings, even thoughts, eager to find a way out of that malaise of madness – but seldom knowing how to.
Having something to visualize such as a list of your greatest feats makes it easier to believe in yourself and get past whatever is trying to turn any lingering doubts you may have about yourself or your abilities into permanent beliefs. It takes those voices that try to weigh you down and silences them with legit authority. Personally, my cookie jar list helped me see past my own low point from earlier this year, the lowest low I’ve ever endured, coaxing me out of a lackadaisical lifestyle and back into the daily grind I grew accustomed to. So, whenever I feel down, I look at it, and, like the days of yesteryear, it galvanizes my psyche, reigniting my desire to press on in pursuit of my dreams and goals.
Nowadays, I don’t reach into a literal cookie jar anymore, as my sweet tooth is more inclined to candy than anything else, but I think back to those childhood pick-me-ups with fond memories. Whenever you’re feeling low, don’t be afraid to reach into your own cookie jar. Figuratively or literally, it does a world of good.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project, please support our mission and join us as a Premium Member.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Shutterstock