CURRENT MAGAZINE:

Anti-New Year’s Resolution

At the end of every December there is a panicked rush of thought process. This thought train is attempting to solve something, something that we haven’t thought about for most of the year. What do I need to do for a New Year’s Resolution???

While there might be a few people who are able to stick with a single New Year’s resolution, a majority of people aren’t able to stick with it past the first few weeks in January. Why is that? Is there something biologically that makes us incapable of keeping a commitment to ourselves? This can’t be the case, because we find all throughout history that we are fully capable of committing to things, even ourselves. Do we simply lack the wherewithal or passion to follow through? What is it that we don’t have that seemingly others have that enables them to accomplish more within a year?

I don’t think it has anything to do with willpower, biology, or passion. It’s simply a matter of mindset. There wouldn’t be many out there that would consider setting a New Year’s Resolution to be procrastination, but think about it for a moment. Why do tomorrow what we can do today? We sit around waiting for an arbitrary date, January 1st, to make a large change in our lives. 

Think about this for a moment as well: Every day, every hour, every minute, even every second, we have a new beginning. A chance for us to change direction. The reason we start and fail in January is because we haven’t set ourselves up to succeed. We spent all December gorging ourselves on Christmas dinners, desserts, and all types of vices; yet we expect that January 1st we were supposed to change on a dime. We all have heard the story of the tortoise and the hare, yet we don’t apply it to our lives. Slow and steady change in our lives are the changes that last. Fast and furious changes lead to burn out, which we all have experienced. 

Take a moment and close your eyes, I know it’s silly, but do it just for a moment. We have all of these things in our lives that we know we don’t want in our lives. The habit we’ve been wanting to quit, the relationships that we know aren’t healthy, whatever it may be, think of those things as water. When we look at a map, there is a definite border between the water and land. So many times in our lives we know exactly where the water is, but have no idea where land is. If when we close our eyes we focus, not on what we don’t want in our lives, but what we want our lives to look like, we can fully define who it is we want to be, and more importantly, how we can get there. Definite the borders of who you are and who you want to be, that is what separates land from water, that’s what separates the “you” you want to be from all the things you know you don’t want or need in your life.

The last point I want to make is this, have you ever been at a pool with a zero point entry? Most pools have steep sides, the ones where you have to jump into the deep end, and if the water is cold, we have to scramble out to the side so we can get out. But zero point entry pools have a sloping entry, like the beach. You can put one foot in the water, get used to the temperature, and then step forward and put another foot in. Whoever thought of this for pools was a genius! When we take this example and put it into our lives, starting with something that is easily achievable and continuing to move forward allows us to maintain the progress we have made thus far, without jumping out of the pool altogether. 

All in all, I’m not against New Year’s Resolutions, they are a good practice for us to continually keep our life in check. We simply need to make sure we are utilizing the date and practice to make the most benefit in our lives.