The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution: Doing Nothing

doing nothingA new year has begun, and you may already have a short list of habits you would like to break, goals you would like to reach, and other changes you would like to see in your life. You may even have your resolutions written down and posted with your jam-packed calendar, grocery lists, and to-do lists.

New Year’s resolutions serve a useful purpose: they help us to reflect on our lives and make commitments to create positive changes. But they can also be overwhelming for many people who barely have time to handle everyday life tasks.

Sometimes, the inspired resolutions we make at the end of one year and the beginning of another become just another list we must get done. We lose sight of the meaning behind the resolution and focus more on whether or not we accomplished our goals.

Why not give yourself a big break this year and set only one resolution? Your goal this year: Make time to do absolutely nothing.

I know this can feel uncomfortable because we are supposed to accomplish something with our time. You are – time to do nothing and relax.

Take a Break from Multi-Tasking

If you’re like most people, you probably can’t remember the last time you took a break from life (no, the five-minute flip through a magazine in the bathroom doesn’t count!). Restoring your energy gets put on the back burner in favor of the demands of work and family.

Modern-day life has created multi-tasking and consistently trying to accomplish more in one day than is doable. But all the juggling has a price. You feel frayed around the edges and unable to resist snapping at loved ones. You’re probably so tired, you’re used to being tired, and you may feel overwhelmed and underappreciated. In short, you are less you.

Everyone needs ample, regularly scheduled time to chill out and relax. It would be best if you had time to putter around the house, wander through antique shops, or even watch your favorite television shows. There need to be blocks of time when you schedule nothing, and you can release your ‘to-do” list and do what piques your interest.

Put “Do Nothing” Time on the Schedule

You may agree with the concept of doing nothing, but to integrate it into your life, you need to dedicate time to it. First, get out your calendar and look at the week ahead. Is there anything on the schedule that you could skip out of? For example, do you need to go to every meeting, or maybe you can go online and shop for food and have it delivered, and use that time to relax

One strategy for finding time in your schedule is negotiating with others. Perhaps you could bring together friends and make a “dinner-making” team where each cooks one thing in big batches and shares it with others. This way, you can have 4-5 dinners made at one time. If you live with others, share meal planning and cooking times. Think in terms of delegating tasks with others at work or home.

Get Enough “Do Nothing” Time

“Do nothing” time is only effective if you have enough time to enjoy it. Your magic number – the amount of time you need to get the most out of your “do nothing” time – may be different than that of your partner, best friend, or kids. Start by aiming high rather than shorting yourself. Pick one whole day to do nothing. Note how long it took you to feel relaxed, satisfied and restored. Now you know how much time to put on your schedule.

Maybe all day is too high for you at this time. One activity that falls under “doing nothing” is meditation.   Daily, this is a refreshing activity and enhances your energy and concentration.   If you think you can’t sit that long, start slow, like 5 minutes, though do it consistently every day. It reminds you that you can take the time to care for yourself.

A walk in the woods, sitting outside enjoying the sun, listening to music, whatever it takes to allow your mind and body to release the tension.

Make it a Family Resolution

Doing nothing is also of great benefit to kids and your entire family. Children are often overscheduled and need time to “hang out.” Why not schedule one weekend day and one weeknight as “do nothing” time? Use that time to play games as a family, watch a movie, or take a spontaneous road trip. Or, spend the day doing absolutely nothing at all. The point is that you have permission to do whatever you please, and if it is liberating, imagine what it could mean to your family.


Why not take some time to think of ways to reduce your “to-do” list by delegating or deleting items on it? Are your moving items from one day to another? Probably a good indication that it is not critical to do for you.

Think of how you can be your best at doing “nothing.”

Your Thoughts

Doing nothing can help you get back some of yourself faster than many self-improvement programs. You may be surprised how many of your original resolutions get accomplished inadvertently. Not because you had to but because you felt like it that day. Committing to a block of “do nothing” time allows you to return to your natural rhythms, which ultimately get back to you.

Find a balance between doing and just being.

Women’s Group Topic

Share your thoughts about doing nothing with each other–are you comfortable with it, or do you feel you can’t because you have too much to do?   Why not brainstorm how to find time to be with yourself and do nothing? One of the beautiful experiences I’ve received in being part of a women’s group is the varied perspectives I didn’t have and could now incorporate into my life.

Be well,


“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(Pat Brill)

Other Topics You May Be Interested In
What’s This About “Letting Go?”
Compassion for Myself
Do You Have Too Many Shoulds?



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