That's the idea... but in reality resolutions are more like hopes or ideas. They are flimsy and the people making them (including myself) are often a little bit fickle and flaky and like so many before them come December 31st they realise that they have failed... yet again. But why? Why is it that we fail almost every year?
Last year was perhaps the first year in my entire life that I succeeded at keeping my new years resolution and it made me wonder what was different with that resolution... what made it different from all the others that I'd failed to acheive. It got me thinking about the resolutions I'd had in the past and the ones I was considering taking on this year. When planning my resolutions for this year, my first thought was that I needed to exercise more often. I considered starting up running again or doing yoga or perhaps starting cycling. I wondered about trying to eat healthier or trying to cut out something unhealthy from my diet. But I couldn't decide.
Without Commitment There Is No Winner:
What if part of the reason we fail at our resolutions each year is because we don't commit to them. I'm an incredibly indecisive person and commitment is not really my best friend - unless it's to a favourite author's books... A friend asked me about my new year resolutions and he was convinced I'd fail just because of the number of times I used the word "TRY". I wasn't commited to any of the resolutions I shared with him. I wasn't invested. There was no risk. No need. It wasn't a matter of life and death that I exercise more just a matter of my waist line and that was evident in the casual attitude I had towards it. If we don't commit to our resolutions come next year we won't have acchieved anything.
Winners Are Devoted:
The problem is bigger than our lack of commitment though. Because commitment has to be inspired. We don't commit to things we don't value. I wasn't invested in the resolutions I set so commiting to them just didn't happen. As much as I love to look pretty and I like it when I have a skinny waist it wasn't enough for me to devote a whole year in order to maintain or improve it. I'm not a particularly superfisal person and so superfisal resolutions just won't cut it. It's not that my weight and health aren't important, it just didn't touch my heart and that's where devotion starts and ends.
Winning Takes Time:
But it's not just a lack of devotion that holds us back from those ambitions. It's more than that. Devotion is something that develops over time. I got to January 1st and already I regreted the idea of trying to go for a run. It was cold outside and it was raining and I wanted a lie in. Guess who didn't go for a run... you'd be right if you guessed me. I didn't run that day or the day after that or the day after that. It just didn't happen because I wasn't willing to give my resolution a day let alone 365... How on earth can I devote a year to something that I won't even grudgingly give an hour to?
Last year I didn't choose my own resolution. It was thrust upon me by the people I love, my family. One of my little sisters said to me early last January, "your new years resolution is to see us more. We miss you." and I heard her loud and clear. I would give anything to my sisters especially my time so automatically I was more inclined to keep this resolution than all the ones before it because it mattered to me. I didn't have to do it grudgingly. I didn't have to train myself to enjoy it. This was something I wanted too. The fact that my sisters missed me inspired that devotion I was talking about because her words had spoken right to my heart. I didn't have to wait for devotion to set in - it was already there. I was already invested and I took her words seriously. This wasn't a casual passing comment. She sincerely meant what she said and that inspired commitment. I passed the test last year. New Years Eve arrived and I was able to hold my head up and say I'd succeeded. We don't get to say that every year.
How To Succeed:
With that in mind, I have some ideas for how you can guarantee that you will not just make resolutions this year but you will keep them too.
- Stuck for ideas? Ask a family member or a close friend what they think you can do to improve your relationship with them. Perhaps they'd like you to listen more or to give them a hug once in a while or they'd appreciate a regular phone call. Whatever it is, if you love them, you'll commit to their resolution idea.
- Stuck on the very first day? Don't give up. It takes ages to develop a habit. Whatever it is you are trying to do just keep going and don't give up. Ask the people around you to challenge you and remind you about it. Competition is always helpful.
- Stuck in a rut? Don't chose the same resolution year in year out. Change it up. If you've been failing at the same thing repeatedly, give yourself a break and an ego boost and a chance at success. You can always go back next year.
I really hope you all succeed this year at whatever resolutions you choose. This year I've belatedly decided on these resolutions:
- I want to write more. I want to write at least FIVE books this year.... that's a minimum requirement.
- I want to see more of my grandparents. We only have the people we love for a limited time and I don't want to waste a minute.
- I want to be more active and adventureous. I want to make time for things outside of work.
- I want to make more effort with my readers and followers. I'm going to write blog posts more frequently and write to my subscribers. I don't want anyone to miss a thing.