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Here comes another year of saying you'll do things that you probably won't. It can feel deflating.

This year, that cycle feels intolerable. By comparison, my experience with the pandemic has been one of fortune and privilege but like many people, I’m exhausted anyway. My 2021 resolutions went ignored while I worked intermittently from home, navigated hybrid schooling for my children, and wondered why, two years into this, I still didn’t feel normal. 2022 is still uncertain enough that choosing new goals feels like setting out into a snowstorm. So I’ve resolved to not make any resolutions this year.

Trust me, I’ve tried all the recommended tricks and advice: Set small goals that you can easily and realistically achieve, set grand goals that will stimulate and challenge you; make your goals measurable, set meaningful goals, visualize your success, celebrate your progress but don’t give up if you’re not meeting your goals.

Yet according to research, New Year’s resolutions just aren’t that likely to work. Lisa Ordóñez, the dean of UC San Diego’s management school, says that most resolutions get abandoned about a month into the new year. (For the past few years, the fitness-app, Strava, has shared the day in January its users were most likely to give up on their exercise targets—what it cruelly calls “Quitter’s Day.”) In a 2018 poll, only 6% of people who made a resolution actually met that goal.

See, the problem isn’t just with how we define or pursue our goals; it’s with the very idea of prioritizing tangible outcomes. Assessing our personal progress in terms of resolutions leads us to aspire to things that we can cross off a list. “We often measure things that are easy to measure,” Ordóñez says “not what we really want to do.”

Instead, perhaps this year we can reflect on why those outcomes matter to us in the first place. Jill Stone, the director of a local therapy practice, explained this with an example from her own life. She had wanted to lose weight for years, constantly setting and not achieving new fitness goals. When she questioned why she agonized over the number on a scale, she realized that she really only cared that her children didn’t see her as a sedentary person. She’s since reached a place where she feels healthier, more active, and proud of the mother her kids look up to. Stone didn’t start and finish any one tidy goal, but she was guided by an understanding of what she wanted, what she loves and what is a priority.

I don’t know what 2022 will look like, but this year, instead of resolutions, I chosen reflections. I’ve started putting together a list the good things from the year that just ended: I perfected a soft-boiled egg for homemade ramen, I read some good books, we painted the bathroom, I learned how to make Rømmegrøt, we grew dozens of butternut squash in our garden and we got another dog. These aren’t necessarily accomplishments, they’re more like gratitudes, or bright spots. They remind me that my life can be beautifully inconsequential, and the things that make me happy (and human!) are not particularly unique or impressive.

In the end, there will be no ledger recording how frequently I exercised or cleaned my baseboards or got promoted. There will be people who loved me and that I fiercely loved in return. I hope to have been a committed daughter, wife, mother and friend, a reliable co-worker, a kind stranger; I hope I told stories that made people laugh. In 2022, I will continue to follow my guides without knowing my destination and nearly two years into a pandemic, maybe that’s all right.