It’s that time of year again. The time when everyone makes an annual promise to themselves. This promise is known as a New Year’s resolution. According to Wikipedia, a New Year’s resolution is a tradition, in which a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behavior, accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life at the start of a new year.
Have you ever Googled the top 10 New Year’s resolutions? I have! And not one was a surprise. And I bet if we compared the top 10 each year for the past 20 years, it would be the same 10 that make the list (maybe just rearranged). It’s currently January and the start of a New Year with everyone’s energy and ambitions high, but February is approaching and soon many will waiver on their resolutions and allow old habits to reemerge. It doesn’t matter how good it sounds or looks on paper, if your New Year’s resolution not something that is realistic or sustainable, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. And having disappointment in oneself is the complete opposite effect a resolution is supposed to have.
More than half of those who create a New Year’s resolution, fail to attain the desired result. But, establishing a New Year’s resolution in January only to forget it by February does not have to be you this year. Keep your resolutions simple and always positive. Instead of saying, I will workout 5 times each week for the next year, resolve to practice self-care by incorporating more activity into your daily life. Stated that way, doesn’t it sound less intimidating and much more attainable? Set this way, it also allows flexibility for when working out can’t find its way into your schedule for a day (or two). It allows a walk around the block with your dog to be a perfectly acceptable form of activity without leaving you feeling like you failed.
As 2021 was ending and I was reflecting on the resolutions I had set for myself, I was hit with the realization that none were accomplished. While some were out of my control, I realized I didn’t like the way any of it made me feel. I decided in that moment, to no longer make template resolutions. Instead, I will resolve to be a better person, do better things, and give myself the grace to control only my words, actions, thoughts, and feelings and not those of others. I want to forget about meeting an arbitrary number on the scale (just for the sake of looking fabulous for a weekend getaway), traveling to multiple locations (amid a worldwide pandemic), or limiting my shopping addiction (YOLO).
This is the first year for as long as I can remember, I decided not to set a template New Year’s resolution. And for me, the girl who usually creates at least 3, this was a big decision. And it wasn’t because I was lazy or didn’t want to do or be better. It was the exact opposite. It was because I wanted to be the best version of myself.
I came into 2022 with an intention to be better and do better this year. And to accomplish that, I am giving myself the grace to only control the controllables. I will learn to allow the other pieces to fall where they may. Thinking about it now, this quite possibility is the hardest, most realistic (and most adult-like) New Year’s resolution I’ve ever established. And the best part is there is absolutely no way to fail. If I am waking up each day a better person than I was when I went to bed the night before, then my resolution is being achieved.
Be the person who resolves to be better today than you were yesterday. And if you can do that, it is truly the only resolution you’ll ever need to make. And you don’t even have to wait until the start of a new year to do it. You can start today!
But if you are set on creating a New Year’s resolution (or many resolutions) for the sake of tradition, ensure they attainable and realistic and when accomplished will enhance your life or the life of others. Please don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment only to throw in the towel and resolve all over again on January 1, 2023, with one or several of the same resolutions from Google’s 10 New Year’s resolutions list.