Don’t shoot the messenger here, but let’s get real. Do you know anyone who has made a New Year’s resolution and stuck to it for more than three weeks? If you do, and they have, then good for them! They are certainly in the minority.
The history of making a resolution at the start of a new year goes back over 4000 years and is said to have started with the ancient Babylonians. Nearly half of adult Americans stick to this tradition, but the majority ultimately fail to succeed. Despite good intentions, most of the goals are just unrealistic.
Remember last year when you were committed to losing 15 pounds starting January 1st? On New Year’s Eve, you guzzled a magnum of champagne and paired it with a box of chocolates, like it was the last you would ever enjoy such delicacies. How about the year you vowed to exercise more? You hit the treadmill hard for the first week of January and then just got “really busy.” Most resolutions don’t have a plan in place to support them, which is why they ultimately fail. This, unfortunately, is a set up for disappointment.
So why then do we make these promises to ourselves year after year? Well, everyone wants to improve their life in some way and the mark of a new calendar year seems the perfect opportunity to do so. Wanting to make a change for the better is a wonderful thing, but why not vow to change for the better whenever you need it? Perhaps commit to smaller, more realistic monthly goals that are easier to achieve.
If the desire is there to better yourself, my theory is to just start NOW. If that change is necessary in your life, commit to the transition and start slowly. Making a monumental change can’t happen overnight, and you need to be kind to yourself to increase your chances for success.
For example, if you would like to start walking daily, then start out by walking 3 times per week and work up to it. If you want to eat healthier, don’t ditch all your ice cream and pizza on December 31st. Go to the market today and load up your cart with more fruits and veggies. Maybe next week, add something else.
If making that New Year’s resolution provides you with happiness or gives you hope, then go for it. I propose that we resolve to be better every day of the year.