Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions
I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. I don’t publicly make them. But I like the idea of starting anew, with a clean slate, and becoming a better person. The underlying theme of most resolutions is to be better: more fit physically or financially or spiritually, healthier, kinder, more creative, more focused.
We can and do start to make positive changes in our lives at other times in the year, but often wait for a convenient time. We plan to start the diet after our next vacation, after our friend’s wedding, after the current holidays are over. The truth is that there is rarely a good or convenient time. There is a fresh feeling to the start of a new year that entices us to try again
Let’s face it. Change is hard. Why we think it will be any easier at the start of a new calendar year escapes me. And that is the time we often make the most grandiose of resolutions, without clear plans on how to achieve them, and without setting smaller, achievable goals along the way. Somehow, we feel that the New Year will magically wipe away all the obstacles we’ve faced within ourselves and around us in the past. No wonder that few people are successful in achieving their resolutions.
In spite of all the odds against resolutions, it is good to ponder what is important, what we want to be, what we feel called to do. And we should take steps to set us on the path towards that, whether that be at the start of a new calendar year or some other time. But we also need to be kind to ourselves and not despair or give up when we lapse or falter. The path may be not straight or easy, but that doesn’t mean we should stop moving forward.
So as I look into 2014, I want to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, write more, write better. I’m just not going to make official New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I will take regular small steps towards my goals. Sometimes I will do well; sometimes not so well. I will likely start over with new resolve many times. I hope when I get to the end of 2014, I’ve taken more steps forward than backward.
Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? What has your success been with resolutions in the past and what have your learned?