I wrote an article for a newsletter a week or so ago about how I feel about New Year’s resolutions.
Year’s ago, when I was still in the frame of mind that I was never good enough and I had to constantly be changing myself, I signed up for New Year’s resolutions every January. There was (and is) always something I could be improving on. I have always been my worst critic, even if I have projected it on others in the past. The problem was that I rarely ever carried out the resolutions, and if I did it was always a temporary fix.
To me, New Year’s resolutions are like diets. They are a temporary solution to a long term problem. Most of the time, the resolutions are very valid and admirable. Whether you want to lose weight, eat healthier, stop yelling so much, spend less or whatever else you might consider quitting or changing, all of these things need to be addressed on a more permanent basis. For some, a New Year’s resolution may help them form new habits that will last a lifetime, but my experience has not been that positive. Most of the time, my resolutions have fallen by the wayside before February even rolls around, and I think I know why. New Year’s resolutions are not set up to succeed.
You may be wondering what I mean by resolutions being set up to fail. First, most people look at resolutions as temporary. They almost expect them to drop off after about February, some make it through March and a few really persistent people make it even longer. The truth is that few people really expect to finish, it’s almost become kind of a joke. Second, many people chose the most difficult things to do as their New Year’s resolutions: quit smoking, lose 50 lbs., save $1000.00. To succeed at any of those things, it would require serious changes in many areas of a persons life. These are not simple one-off changes.
I don’t want you to think that I never try to improve myself, I continually try to improve, I just don’t use January first as a springboard. For me, every day is a new day to improve and start over and do better. This week I am doing a partial fast, because I have not been taking care of myself the way I need to. It isn’t something I’m going to do for a whole year, just until I reset my body back to my good habits. I am also doing more along the lines of exercising. This is something I hope to make a permanent habit. I usually do pretty well, I go to Zumba twice a week most of the time and it’s easy for me to do that because I love it. (By the way, if you are local you should stop in and check out one of our Zumba classes at Mount Vernon Baptist Church on Mountain Valley road.) What I don’t love is going to the gym. It is also very difficult for me to exercise at home in the morning before work, because I get up at 4:30 am already and I’m just not willing to get up earlier than that at this point. However, I know I need to find something to do during the day, because my job requires me to sit most of the day and I can’t take that anymore.
What I would encourage everyone to do is find one thing they believe they can actually change permanently and work on that one thing. Don’t do it because its January 1, do it because you want to make the change and you know it will be good for you. If you don’t make it in January, start again in February and every month after that until it works for you. Don’t let New Year’s resolutions steal your joy and cause you more stress. Just do what you can and keep pushing past what you can until you can do more!