Rethinking Resolutions

The good ol’ New Years resolution.
You set yourself up with a lofty goal and by the end of the year, you’re kicking yourself in the rear for not achieving that goal.
At least that’s how it seems to go for me.
Lose weight, quit smoking, less caffeine, no more social media, no sugar, stop swearing all together – these are all attainable goals for anyone, but they’re hard to keep to sometimes, am I right?
I talked to a very good friend of mine about how to make New Year’s resolutions stick, and she shared some awesome tips with me.
First off, start small. Make resolutions you can actually keep. If your goal is to lose weight, start by going for a walk three or four times a week, then once you’re comfortable, add another day, or add another pace. If you want to skip the sugar from your diet, don’t quit altogether, find things that you enjoy like fruit or yogurt. There are even sugarless cookies and candy if you’re hard up for a fix.
The other important aspect is to go for one thing at a time. “Unhealthy behaviors develop over time, and replacing healthy behaviors take just as long.” That was my friend’s advice, and I like it. Think of a flower: flowers don’t bloom all year long. It takes time and nourishment and the proper environment for a flower to bloom. Just be patient with yourself.
Another good piece of advice my friend gave me was to give yourself freedom to talk about it. Reach out, if you need it. Whether it’s a friend or family member, or even a support group online, talking it out can help you a lot not only with your struggles, but with your successes. You can even journal about it or write it down to track your progress, or vent your frustrations.
Last and most importantly, remember that everyone has ups and downs. Don’t beat yourself up over not achieving your goal if you didn’t reach it.
Take solace in the steps that you have taken to improve your life. Whether you’ve gone from two packs of cigarettes a week to 1.5 packs a week, that’s progress. Minor missteps when shooting for a goal is completely normal. It’s like shooting free throws; you don’t quit after your first miss, you keep shooting to see if you can do it. Mistakes happen, life happens. What’s important is that you acknowledge how much you have grown.
My buddy also said that it’s important to reward yourself for obtaining that goal, whatever it is. If you’ve quit smoking, maybe you treat yourself to a new sweater with all the money you saved from your cigarette fund. If you’re losing weight, it’s alright to treat yourself to a cupcake for working hard. (Just don’t eat all the cupcakes. Trust me on that.)
The point of a resolution is to look at ourselves as flawed beings, and see room for improvement and taking actual steps to improve ourselves as people. Maybe it’s being nicer to people, maybe it’s volunteering at a local establishment, maybe it’s just getting out of the house more than once a week. No matter what your goal is for this year, know that you are capable of anything you can set your mind to.
And, finally, if you don’t set a resolution for the year? The world is not going to end or anything. Maybe this year, you’re comfortable with who and where you are – if that’s the case, enjoy it. Embrace it. Live it up. Be exactly you, and bring your unique, amazing self to the greater conversation of life and spread that awesomeness around.
Don’t act like you didn’t know you were awesome. You know you are.
Either way, take the year as it comes. Embrace the good, slough off the bad, and keep going.
“For all of the things in the near future that you do not know, may you still find the room and the space in this season to tend to your growth. For even in uncertainty, you can still grow in the grace and knowledge of the light that has always guided you.” – Morgan Harper Nichols.

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