It’s New Year’s Resolution time!
I love the fresh-slate feeling of a new year.
It’s like the first page of a delicious new book.
I love slowing down a bit in the final days of the year to reflect on the months just past, and ponder those just coming.
And I LOVE New Year’s Resolutions!!
I was therefore rather shocked to learn that many people hate them! It took a while, but I finally traced this startling revelation to one curious fact:
People set resolutions for things they don’t want to do.
Oh sure, maybe they want to look the way they think they’ll look 10 pounds lighter. But they don’t want to eat differently, or go to the gym 8 days a week, or run ten miles before breakfast each day.
So they don’t. At least, not after February 19th.
Yet another Resolution FAIL. And they feel guilty about that. And worse about themselves. And this does not help at all with the extra 10 pounds!
Especially if they drown their guilt in Ben & Jerry’s.
What an awful way to start a year!
A big list of misery! Who needs that staring them in the face at the start of the next glorious chapter of their life?!?
I’d be unhappy too!
So here is my patented, nearly fool-proof, indispensable method for making New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep:
Make resolutions you actually want to keep.
If you want to lose weight, but you HATE the gym, and you definitely have no interest in changing your diet, don’t set those as your resolutions!
Instead, make resolutions to increase things you DO love.
Things that add to your life, but perhaps get pushed aside in the hurry of the day, the stress of the week.
Or things you think you shouldn’t get to do until you meet some imaginary goal or conquer some arbitrary quantity of shoulds.
Devote your New Year’s Resolutions to things that build your soul, not things that are already crushing it two weeks before the year officially starts!
If any of those gets you moving a bit more, or forgoing a 15th cookie, fine; but that should not be the motive.
What do you not make time for that you delight in when you get to do it?
THAT is the thing that sustainable Resolutions are made of!
So resolve to make time to drink coffee at a proper coffee shop.
Or walk in the park.
Or watch chick-flicks or action-adventures once a week.
Whatever your thing is.
Maybe you’ll resolve to talk on the phone more. If that is what feeds your soul, GO FOR IT!
Maybe you’ll resolve to train for a powerlifting competition. And if THAT, really, and truly, is what feeds your soul, GO FOR IT!
Or what is something you have been longing to try?
Not an “I know I should starting doing that.” but a “Man, how I wish I had time for that.” ?
THAT is the thing sustainable Resolutions are made of!
But don’t stack the deck against it!
If you’ve never tried painting, or horseback riding, or origami, don’t resolve to master it by February, or do it 6 days a week for the rest of your life.
And definitely DO NOT buy a horse.
Resolve to try painting.
or to get an origami book from the library and see if you like it.
or to schedule a trail ride at the local stable, or ask a horsey friend to show you what it’s all about.
Resolve to set aside a little time each week just to inch closer to trying it, if you need to!
Then, even if your new passion turns out to be not your cup of tea, you’ve kept your resolution perfectly! GREAT JOB!!
CAUTION! Be sure you are adding things that you really delight in!
Things that really feed your soul; NOT just the things you usually do to compensate for your poor soul’s hunger-induced fatigue!
So, if surfing channels or scanning Facebook all evening REALLY is what feeds your soul, resolve to devote one or more evenings to that GUILT FREE! Write it in your calendar!
BUT. If that is just a filler because your soul needs downtime and isn’t getting what it REALLY loves, then resolution time is about TAKING BACK YOUR DOWNTIME!
Sure, we’ll all still do the mindless surfing from time to time, but make your RESOLUTIONS about the really good stuff.
Sacrifices will need to be made from time to time, but make those after you’ve built up a reserve of delight by succeeding with resolutions you WANT to keep!
You may be surprised to see how intentionally increasing the delight in your life also begins to iron out some of the wrinkles you do not delight in – like those extra ten pounds, or the garage clutter, or the eating more vegetables.
Okay, but what if you really, really, do have to make a change even though you really don’t want to? And RIGHT NOW, for whatever reason, is the time you have to make it? I’ve written about that too. But only for use as a last resort!