red berries and green leavesHave you made your New Years resolutions yet?

Or does that question make you want to shout something about how it’s too early for resolutions, dag-nabbit, what with all of that peppermint bark still calling you from inside the kitchen cupboard?

It does seem like people start talking about resolutions earlier every year. Commercials for weight loss and quit-smoking programs are already all over the airwaves, something I distinctly remember not seeing until after the sparkly ball dropped in Times Square just a few years ago.

And it’s almost impossible to reach for a snack in the check-out line without knocking over a rack of magazines with headlines like “lose 25 pounds before sundown on New Years Day” or “try our new couch-to-marathon by Valentine’s Day running plan.”

No wonder making resolutions feels so crummy when we come at it from a place of what we didn’t achieve – how we failed – this year.

There’s a better way: celebrate first, resolve later.

No, I’m not suggesting you spend New Years Eve partying harder than you would otherwise.

Instead, celebrate first by creating a more positive and peaceful place from which to set your intentions – notice how I didn’t use the r-word – for 2013 by first reflecting on all you accomplished this year, and the resolutions will follow almost inevitably.

Here’s how:

Set aside some time between now and the first to reflect on these questions:

How did I show up?

How did I let go?

How did I make art?

How did you show up?

Maybe you showed up by taking an elderly neighbor to a doctor’s appointment or making a donation to hurricane Sandy relief or voting or going to that yoga class even though it took a boatload of courage to show up when you were the fattest person in the room, the room with all those mirrors, or being fully present when your kid told you about how she lost her first tooth in the middle of music class.

Write it all down. Savor it. Figure out which answers made you feel happiest and set an intention to do more of that next year.

How did you let go?

Maybe you let go by finally cleaning out the basement or leaving the job that was wearing you down or ending the relationship that no longer fit or ditching the expectation that this would finally be the holiday that was more idyllic than a Norman Rockwell print and just enjoyed the hectic, crazy mess of being with your family.

Write that down, too. Savor the space it created for great new things to happen in your life. Figure out what else you might let go of in the new year.

How did you make art?

Maybe your art was a beautifully prepared meal or the way you worked on that budget report so meticulously or the scarf you knitted for the kid at the shelter or the new riff you learned on the guitar just because it’s so much fun to play or the time you just sat and watched the sun set because it was so breathtaking.

Write, savor, and create an intention to do more of the stuff that made you the happiest.

Resolve, even.

Because if you got really clear about how you showed up, let go, and made art and also figured out how you want to do more of the things that made you the happiest, you just created your resolutions.

How easy was that?

And there’s still time to enjoy another nibble of peppermint bark before midnight.

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