As we prepare to leave the year that was 2020 behind (thank goodness!) – it is the time for New Year’s Resolutions. Never before has there been a time when everyone is looking back at the previous year with all kinds of feelings about what they did and didn’t do. The Age of Covid has impacted all of us and with the advent of a new year, many will feel it’s time to make all kinds of resolutions in regards to the new year and hopefully the end of Covid!
Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions
I am one of the few who choose not to make a New Year’s resolution. I have not in many years. The reasons for this choice are many. The big one being I don’t need another thing in my life that I could fail at and make me feel badly about myself. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I choose instead to focus on ways I think I can improve my life without putting the pressure of a January 1st start date and the inevitable failure that may follow.
Let’s be clear that if you want to make a New Year’s resolution, then by all means go for it! If this works for you, then I have great admiration. For me, New Year’s resolutions lend themselves to failure because so often they are grounded in the idea that we need to fix things about ourselves. A resolution implies there is something wrong with you. Resolutions manifest themselves in what becomes a long list of to dos, that most likely won’t get done and thus cause one to feel worse than they did when they set the resolution to begin with.
For example, if one says their resolution is to lose 20/30/50 pounds – they start out January 1st gung ho, being super careful counting calories, carbs, whatever but by the 15th, it’s all gone out the window for most people.
The same could be said for resolving to be up every morning to exercise before work. If you are not a morning person, this is just never going to stick. You may get up for a week or more, but eventually you will most likely return to your normal habits.
I’m not trying to be a downer here, just realistic. I’ve made the mistake myself too many times to count over the years and I’ve seen too many people I know do the same. Let’s also be clear that I am very aware there are areas of my life which need improvement. So, how do I approach the infamous resolution?
First, I don’t put a January 1st start date on anything. I am always looking for ways to improve my life and constantly try to implement ways to improve. Whether it be diet, exercise, life choices, etc. the constant striving for self improvement does not need to be stuck to the January 1st start date.
Second, I attempt to be as realistic as possible in my choices. Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds”, I instead say, “I’m going to be more aware of food choices and prepare foods that fuel my body and make me healthy.” Or instead of saying, “I’m going to exercise an hour a day every morning before work”, I say, “I’m going to implement more walking in my life and schedule strength training into my week.”
This is what works for me. It may not work for you. I am a firm believer in doing YOU. What works for YOU may be very different than what works for your best friend. The key is figuring that out and being ok with it. Why do we constantly compare ourselves to others? Why do we constantly try to live up to the expectations other people set for themselves? In the New Year and always, I want to do ME. I want to do what works for me and concentrate on that. I spent too many years trying to please another person and never being successful. It wounded me. It turned me into something I am not. I was never going to be able to live up to or be what this other person wanted and I made countless resolutions trying to make myself someone I am not.
Instead Create A 21 for 2021
I am again enlisting a 21 for 2021 list this year. This is a list of things I would like to work on/accomplish for 2021. The items range from cleaning out a closet to working on reducing waste and a whole lot a stuff in between. It is a guideline for 2021. I may complete it, I may not. And that is OK!
So, what is the only New Year’s resolution you need to make? It is the one that works for you. It is the resolution that challenges you and enables you to strive to be the best you can be. Whether you want to improve your diet, your fitness, your relationships or whatever, YOU decide the road you will travel to get there. You don’t need January 1st to make you get started. You just need to identify what you want and take the baby steps to start getting you there. I believe in you! You can do it!