“New Year’s resolutions work like this: you think of something you enjoy doing then resolve to stop doing it,” Charlie Booker.
Another New Year and another opportunity to make New Year’s resolutions we most likely won’t keep. Statistics show that eighty percent (80%) of New Year’s resolutions fail. So why do we keep making them? If you’re like me, it’s in the hopes that one will stick beyond the traditional February drop date.
A few year’s ago I resolved to discontinue making New Year’s resolutions. It just doesn’t work for me. I found it too easy to give up because, after all, most people fail to keep their resolutions. I wasn’t alone in abandoning my resolutions, leaving them discarded and forgotten. And subsequently I would feel like a failure for once again joining the crowd in giving up. But I still had goals I wanted to accomplish, I just needed to find a different motivator that wasn’t tied to each New Year cycle.
I began by making a commitment to myself each time I want to accomplish something new – it didn’t matter how big, or how small that commitment was. It also didn’t matter what day or month it was. And I gave myself permission to fail occasionally, but not to give up. I fail regularly to maintain my fitness schedule. But just as regularly I re-commit to begin again. I don’t give myself permission to quit, but I allow myself to veer off the path then veer back on.
It’s a constant re-commitment to myself and the goals I have. To eat right, to stay fit, to travel, to be nicer to others, to try new things, to read more, to write and write some more. I like to berate myself and inflate my failures in my head to inhuman proportions and I admit I’m good at this. There’s a part of me that throws up my hands and declares that all is lost and I should just quit while I’m ahead (or behind, depending on the situation). But after I’ve had my fill of self-deprecation, I remind myself of the commitment I made to myself many years ago. The commitment to always allow myself to re-commit. To allow myself to fail, but not give up.
As we head into this New Year, I challenge you to make a commitment to yourself. Start small, see how it goes. And forgive yourself if you veer off your path. Just remember to start again. I believe you’ll find the journey worthwhile.
And have wonderful and happy New Year!