(Editor’s note: with everything going on around New Year’s eve and Day, we missed a few holiday-specific posts, this being one of them. Fortunately Theresa’s message is for the future and can start from this day forward. — L.A. Post-Examiner editorial staff)
The New Year is here and I am sure, if you are like most people, you have made a list of New Year’s resolutions. Every year we all do it, and we mean to keep these resolutions. Yet, most of us are lucky if we even remember what we resolved to do only one week into the New Year.
A very popular New Year’s resolution tends to be something like wanting to lose weight and get into shape. This results in many people running to their nearest gym and buying a membership. The gym thing goes well for a week or two or maybe even three weeks, but by February, the only people at the gym are the diehard workout fanatics.
If you doubt this information, contact any gym or ask any regular gym attendee. They will both tell you, and the regular gym attendee will do so with frustration in their voice, that the gym is overflowing with people in January but – thankfully – by February things are back to normal.
Why do we do this to ourselves year in and year out? On the one hand, I can understand the desire to turn a new page, because a new year is looming just in front of us. However, after a while don’t you feel like an annual failure at not being able to keep your long list of New Year’s resolutions?
Here is a suggestion: we should all make only one New Year’s resolution, and that is to not make any New Year’s resolutions. This does not mean I am against improving oneself or one’s situation in life. I am just against feeling like a failure after less than 30 days into the New Year.
I think a better game plan is to strive to become a better you throughout the year. Over the course of the next twelve months, periodically sit down and write out some goals you would like to achieve along with a date for each goal’s completion. As you reach these milestones, congratulate yourself and then make new goals.
These goals do not have to be earth-shattering, world changing goals. Perhaps you have wanted to learn more about a subject that has always interested you. Maybe you wanted to learn how to bake the perfect loaf of bread from scratch or maybe it is something more personal, like giving out compliments more often. Your goal may be to give one new compliment a day for 30 days. These are your goals, so they can be anything that means anything to you.
Creating a list of New Year’s resolutions can be too much like setting yourself up for failure, whereas creating goals, even mini-goals, can help you become a better you all through the year.
Stop driving yourself crazy every year trying to live up to the expectations of others. January first is going to roll around every year for as long as you live. This does not mean that you have to let other people or society or the media dictate to you what you should or should not do beginning on January first.
This is your life, not theirs. You have to do what is good for you and what brings passion into your life. I highly doubt that making up a resolution, and then failing to follow-through with that resolution, is going to make you feel passionate and eager for the balance of the New Year.
The best part about goal setting through the year and not doing any New Year’s resolutions is when you get to December 31. This is when all that goal setting and accomplishing hits home in a big way. On the eve of the upcoming new year, you can look back at the last 12 months and see all that you have accomplished rather than all you failed at accomplishing.
By looking back and revisiting all the milestones you have accomplished, both big and small, you will have a new view on the upcoming new year. You will feel eager for the it to start, so you can accomplish even more than you did the previous year.
The New Year will be calling to you as a way to expand your life and make it more enriching, instead of reminding of you what a failure you were and this new year is a chance to redeem your sorry self.
Therefore, I urge you to join me in resolving to never again make a New Year’s resolution and instead, live a richer and more rewarding life every day of your existence on this planet.