Good-bye, Santa and the reindeer, jingle bells, Frosty the Snowman, holiday overindulgence, ugly sweaters, crowded malls and Christmas music. Hello, New Year’s Resolutions and promises to eat less, exercise more, quit smoking, curtail frivolous spending and give up alcohol.
Making New Year’s Resolutions seems to be etched into our DNA; we think that simply because the calendar has turned a page, we must enthusiastically declare that “this year will be different!” We resolve that come hell or high water, we are absolutely going to lose 50 pounds. Then we spend ONE. WHOLE. WEEK. working ourselves to exhaustion trying to keep the resolution and the remaining three hundred and fifty-eight days lamenting our failure to achieve said goal.
Why do we appear doomed to repeat this vicious cycle year after year?? For example, according to creditdonkey.com gym memberships substantially increase in January, but 80% of the newbies quit within five months of joining; 4% don’t even make it through the end of January, and 14% drop out in February. This phenomenon is actually relied upon by gym owners whose facilities can only handle approximately 18% of paying members. In order for them to be profitable they count on selling memberships to 10x the number of people they can actually accommodate.
Personally, I have never been a proponent of making New Year’s Resolutions; they seem an exercise in futility, pun intended. Not only do we set lofty goals that we are highly unlikely to achieve, but we also make public declarations of them, which ultimately magnify our failures. Please don’t misunderstand; all of us have undesirable traits or habits in our lives that could use adjusting. I am not saying we should ignore them because we are incapable of change, I am merely suggesting we alter our approach to those unwelcome behaviors.
We don’t arrive on the planet ready to run, it is a process that begins with learning to hold our heads up, progresses to rolling over, then scooting, sitting up, standing, walking and eventually running. How is it that once we’re grown we tend to forget that there is a natural order to things?
If you are a messy Martha who wants a cleaner house, instead of setting the ridiculously lofty and ambiguous goal of, “getting the house clean and organized” how about start by tidying your sock drawer? Granted it is one small step in a very big job, but it can be accomplished with relative ease. Once the sock drawer is straight, revel in your accomplishment and then set a new goal, maybe one a little big tougher like cleaning out the closet.
Just as failures can sideline us, success provides the fuel to continue on. If you want to lose weight, start small. Do you have a two-liter of Dr. Pepper a day habit? Try limiting yourself to only one liter each day, substituting fruit infused water (provides taste with no calories) for the other servings. After you have successfully achieved that goal, continue to gradually step down your consumption. Once you’ve kicked that habit, challenge yourself to find a new health food to enjoy.
January should not be an all or nothing month. There are eleven other months in a year, each one filled with at least 28 days in which we can choose to make improvements in our lives. Now, go get busy with those socks!
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller