New year, new resolutions. Today we start our diets, we are resolved that we will lose those 10, 20, 30 pounds of holiday reveling. We will go to the gym more often, we will condition our bodies for that marathon we’ve always said we would run. We are done shopping, we will save money. We will volunteer more at our children’s youth activities, in their classrooms, at the homeless shelter. We will finally clean out the garage, our junk drawers, the attic. We will, we will, we will! But the real question is – for how long?
My resolution has been the same for the past three years – I will not make any resolutions. That way I’m not letting myself down when I stop dieting, stop going to the gym, stop training for the marathon, take one box of old junk from the overstuffed garage to goodwill and call it quits. I know, that’s a cop out. But the reality of it is, several years ago I decided to make more “realistic” resolutions, ones I could actually achieve and therefore feel good about myself. Well, I realized in July or August of that year, that I wasn’t really sticking to my resolutions, I was simply enforcing my habits. If something is a habit, you don’t need to remind yourself to do it. Habits are not resolutions.
So what is a resolution? According to Webster’s New Lexicon Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language, a resolution is: The quality of not allowing difficulties or opposition to affect one’s purpose. Hmm. Okay. That said, why do people really give up on or forget about their resolutions? My answer - I become lazy. There are no difficulties preventing me from not stuffing that chocolate bar into my mouth, unless it’s a two pounder that I’m trying to eat all in one mouthful. No one prevents me from going to the gym. There is no opposition to me sitting down in the chair and writing 1,000 words a day. So why is it so hard to stick to the resolutions?
It’s psychological. We psych ourselves out about it. We are so overly adamant that we will do heroic things, that endorphines actually race through our body and pumps us up. We feel fantastic! Nothing will deter us. Then along comes January 15th and we slip a little bit, but we make excuses, like we just need a day off. Then February 1st rolls around and we have to think long and hard about what it is we were supposed to be doing better this year. When we can’t remember, the same adrenaline gushes around in our bodies, frantically looking for justification as to why we quit running, dieting, writing. That adrenaline spikes our nervous system to extreme stress levels and now we feel like horrid lazy bums so we might as well just eat what we want in front of the t.v. and be happy.
Hey, I understand. I’m not here to judge. It’s too dark and cold to be running anyway. It’s not safe and we’ll probably catch pneumonia. We can’t let that one lonely slice of chocolate cake go to waste, after all there’s children starving in India. Sure, we maybe didn’t write 1,000 words today, but hey, we sure thought about the plot and character arcs a lot, that counts for something.
Here’s my advice folks. Slow down, breathe. Enjoy the little things along the way. Have dessert once in a while. So you don’t run a marathon, or lose 20 pounds. Are you healthy and happy? Are you spending quality time with your family? Make a resolution to enjoy life a little more this year. Smell the flowers. Savor the flavor of your food. Hug your kids one extra time every day. Don’t stress on the resolutions. If you’re happy, life is good and you don’t need them anyway.
So those are my sage words of advice for this month. Now tell me, do you, or do you not make resolutions? Are they attainable? Do you feel good or bad if you do or do not attain them?
Word of the day: Coarctate
Fun fact about me: I am allergic to salmon.