New Year’s resolutions are usually well-intentioned. People want to make positive changes in their lives. So what’s wrong with a resolution or 10? Well, nothing, if that’s what you want to do, but it’s ok to make no resolutions at all. A fresh start can be exciting and motivating, but there are drawbacks to the expectations of “this year I will….”.
First off, was last year so terrible…were you so bad at life that you feel the obligation to make a ton of changes? Maybe it really was, and it’s time for some major life renovations, but go slow, use a professional if you need to, and manage expectations. Or sometimes we see a need for improvement where there isn’t any. It’s OK to cut yourself some slack. You got this far, you must be doing something right.
Next, are they YOUR resolutions, or someone else’s? Do you want to lose weight because it’s your body, and that’s what you want to do? Or is it because so-and-so made a jab at your love handles? Maybe both? Despite the well-meaning advice behind “sticks and stones”, words DO hurt…sometimes A LOT. They can do a lot of damage and change the way we see ourselves. So, if you want to get back into your old jeans, go for it. But if you don’t, THAT IS TOTALLY OK. No one else gets to decide what is the best size and shape for you. Your body, your rules. Your LIFE, your rules. End of story.
How well do you know yourself? How realistic are your goals? If you drop a wad of cash for a gym membership,will you go? Are you already a creature of habit who finds it easy to create and stick to new routines? Or do you go all out on new projects for a month and then move on to something new an interesting? Both personalities have their pros and cons, and we need both kinds of people in this world, but one will be better at sticking to a long-term plan. And that is also JUST FINE. If a year-long gym membership really isn’t your style, save yourself the money without guilt. If going to the movies gives you a better sense of well-being than a 10k run, go for it. Neither is the wrong choice, but one might be a better choice for you.
How much do you have on your plate? The pace of the holidays doesn’t slow down for some people in the new year. If you have a demanding career, family life, social life, course load, or all the above, is it prudent to take on cooking classes or learn knitting? You know yourself best, so maybe that’s your style, and that’s awesome. Some people thrive on being involved and challenged at a high level most of the time. Some people don’t. Even if you don’t feel stretched to the limit, you’re in no way obligated to fill an imaginary gap with a new hobby or volunteer job. Avoiding change out of fear is not a great idea (though who hasn’t done that?), but if you really don’t (or do) want to take something new on, don’t (or do).
Some goals are major life-changers, but they’re usually the hardest. Need to get your finances in order? That can make a world of difference, but it won’t be easy. Want to kick that addiction? Get ready for a rough road. Time to leave a toxic relationship or workplace? Sounds A LOT easier than it is. Set backs and relapses with probably happen and can be very discouraging. But setbacks are still a sign that you’re further ahead than you were at the beginning. Learning to budget and pay down debts is something that can take some time to learn, the same as any other skill. If addictions were easy to beat, no one would have them. Support can be vital, and so is compassion for yourself. If you don’t nail it this year, that’s OK, keep trying. There’s no expiry date on making difficult but important changes.
In short, make resolutions, or don’t. January 1st is not the boss of you. And neither is this article.
Best wishes for the new year, whatever it may bring.