Should you make New Year’s Resolutions?

Has anyone else fallen into the trap year after year of making January 1st the fateful day of change?  I spent much of my 30’s and 40’s trying to give up behaviors (mostly eating badly) and starting new habits (mostly trying to work out more) on January 1.  I can tell you from my own personal experience, it is less fun when January 1st lands on a Thursday like it does this year. 

Sounds silly I know, but the idea of starting a disciplined activity in the midst of a holiday celebration weekend just doesn’t work for me.  Don’t you think we should have a chance to continue the party through the weekend?  I have convinced myself of this in previous years for sure.  But then by Monday, it is already the 4th of January.  

Does it still count as a New Year’s Resolution if you start four days into the year?  Oh, the mind games I have played with myself throughout the years in an effort to be healthy, and for me my primary focus has always been trying to get that number on the scale to go down.

Never Again

Not that I want to be skinny and unhealthy, but the scale is the indicator that I have relied on to determine my success.  My truth is that number obviously reflects my size and there are certain numbers that I crave seeing.  So, am I going to play this game again this year?  Absolutely not!

None of us should!  Frankly, we should end the New Year’s Resolution tradition altogether!  We are all aware of the statistics regarding the failure of New Year’s Resolutions, which truthfully can be applied to any big changes in habits that we try to make at any time of year.  We all know how much this concept doesn’t work, so why do we torture ourselves and feel guilty about failure when it does inevitably fall apart? 

And, with all the available information about how habits are created and changed, it is truly ironic that there is still so much support for the idea of partaking in this “one day to change my world” tradition. 

Quite honestly, in past years I have binged on bad foods leading up to the new year just because I was going to give them up, and then January 1st (or 4th) rolls around and I never quite make it happen.  The net result usually being a pound or two from the pre-resolution behavior.  Argh!!!!

During a pandemic that has challenged us and changed our lives in so many ways, there is a hopeful expectation that there may be more to celebrate than any other in recent history.  Still, we sit here with the modern-day pressure of making ourselves better in 2021 by choosing ground breaking resolutions for what we all hope is a dramatically different and more positive, normal year. 

As I searched ideas for New Year’s resolutions, there are slightly different takes and different messages but exactly the same concept.  Big, heavy lifting life changes that we are all supposed to buy into making just because the calendar rolls into a new year.  

I personally know my weaknesses and with everything else I have going on in my life, my discipline muscle gets fatigued often, and as soon as it gives out, the cycle of negative self-talk starts.  And, as you maybe can relate, that is never a fun place to be and certainly not a springboard to making sweeping changes.  Let’s not do this!  Together, let’s not do it!  

Join Me

Here’s what I propose, let’s focus on and celebrate the small things.  Meaning, let’s let each day be a new day, a new beginning, no matter what happens each day, the next day is a fresh start.  Give yourself permission to make each day new.  And, on each day let’s take one step that is positive. Just ONE! 

Set a goal for that one day. Incorporate one positive thing for yourself or focus on skipping one of your bad habits.  Skip the takeout, park your car farther away, take the stairs, take an online fitness class (checkout, eat an apple, skip the coffee, read a book, whatever ONE thing moves you forward.  Forward movement can and is okay to be in baby steps.  By participating in one small thing every day, you will have success to celebrate each day. 

Don’t focus on any missteps, praise yourself on the positive.  Your discipline muscle will grow instead of giving up.  Try this; I walked today, yippee!  I ate a lower sugar yogurt today, good for me!  I went to bed on time, congrats!  I didn’t do take out today, nice job!  

Every positive thing we do for ourselves is like making a deposit in the bank.  Your positivity will grow into a real investment in yourself.  Yes, every single little item will be a part of your success!  Even the smallest things count, even pennies saved eventually add up to be hundreds of dollars. 

So, forget the really big stuff, and let’s do one small thing per day.  356 small things will make a difference, and you will gain momentum.  We don’t have to turn this whole thing around in one day – it didn’t get there in one day so let’s give it time and be patient.  One small thing a day will lead to long term change!  

I hope you will join me!  If you do, add to the comments your one small thing.    

Happy to be on this journey with you!  Happiest, healthiest wishes for a fabulous 2021! 

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