I’m going to be real, nitty, gritty honest here. I think new year resolutions are a farce: a sham if you will. I think it does nothing more than set you up for failure. But why? Why do I think that setting goals and going for them is fake? I don’t. I think setting goals specifically because the calendar flips is a recipe for disaster.
New years resolutions came about in some sorts over 4,000 years ago. It actually began as promises to the gods to earn their favor for the year. There is a pretty good concise article on History.com about the origins of this rubbish tradition. As the practice evolved, it went from a promise to the gods to a promise to oneself, and as you can imagine, there is a lot less fall out with yourself if you fail, than if you expect a god to come smite you for your failure. I do believe in God. I don’t believe failing myself or Him is going to cause the next harvest to be meager.
But that’s not even what bothers me about the tradition. It’s that by participating, you are saying to yourself that a calendar has the power to alter your mindset. Really…a calendar. I do think that goal setting is worth doing, but I don’t think that rolling over into the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year is going to make achieving the goal any easier or more likely. Trust me, this is coming from a lifetime championship procrastinator. Saying that you are going to start something “tomorrow” or “next month” or at the “new year” is just a way to give yourself more time to come up with reasons why it (whatever “it” is) can’t be done, or isn’t worth doing.
According to Forbes only 25% of people are even still attempting to stick to their resolutions after the first 30 days and only 8% make the magic actually happen. Yes, I called it magic… like a unicorn. I feel that resolutions are akin to admissions of guilt. “I know I suck at _____.” “I know I can do better at _____.” This is a good step in the right direction, don’t get me wrong. The first step to fixing the problem is admitting you have you one, right? Absolutely! But again, just because the calendar rolls over, doesn’t mean this is “your time.“
So when is it “your time“? Your time is whenever it’s right for you; whenever it is ACTUALLY right for you. Laying out goals and deciding to go for them is an admirable thing to do. But do it when you are mentally and physically prepared to actually take them on. Many people think that after the holidays is a great time to give up sweets, eat healthier, and get more active. I think it’s the worst time possible.
For one, you still have left-overs, probably in the freezer, or the stuff you bought the ingredients for, but never got around to making? That’s still around. And have you ever tried to give up sugar? Like actually tried? I have PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome), more on that fun filled train another day. Nevertheless, I have it, and I gave up most sugar due to it, but that was not a fun journey, and one that is a constant battle. Trying to give it up cold turkey, especially after a sweet binge like Christmas, just makes it that much harder. Unless you are in the right mindset to actually buckle down and do it for yourself – not a calendar, it’s not going to happen. And even when it does happen, it won’t be easy.
Don’t make resolutions without an action plan.
The secret to success is right in your hands.J. Allen Shaw, Results
New Year Poem
Getting healthier and more active is also pretty laughable at the new year if you live in the northern hemisphere. It’s WINTER by golly! In all your gusto you haul yourself down to the nearest gym and sign up. What you don’t necessarily realize at the time is that you just signed a monthly payment promise on a 12 month contract. It only seems like $40 today, but it will cost you about $500 total regardless of when you give up on it (be that 1 week from now or a couple of months). You’re probably not too excited to be outside running or walking and the cold will most likely just give you another reason to “not go today,” and let’s face it, home gym equipment is expensive and massive. It doesn’t store well and not too many people can sacrifice that kind of square footage. If you want to set a goal to get healthier, make sure you are PREPARED for what that takes. Give yourself a fighting chance.
Ok, let’s say you think you’ve outsmarted the resolution system and you have settled on something “easier”, like being kinder, or watching your language, something to that effect. Then let me confront you with this, WHY WAIT? If these are the type of things you struggle with, or want to be better at, there is absolutely NO REASON to wait for a day on the calendar to roll around. I mean, come on! How does that sound? “I’m going to be the same old stick in the mud, meany pants…until January 1, then I should be able to do better.” I mean…really?
I believe that you can reach your goals. I encourage you to reach your goals. But please, don’t be a lemming (are we still counting geek points? you get more for this one). Just because the masses are settling in for an evening of rambunctiousness and resolution setting doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Set goals for yourself on your time frame. Prepare for your goals. Go in a with a plan. A single day on the calendar as a jumping point isn’t going to be the “spring board” you’re hoping for. You have to be ready, and let’s be nitty, gritty, honest again, who is ready right after the stress of the holidays? I call it holiday hangover, even though I don’t really drink… at all. Just coming down from it all takes it’s toll. I know I’m personally not ready to take on anything new and ambitious on January 1… ever.
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I think if you want to change something, change it today and don’t wait until the New Year.Georgina Bloomberg
Quotes about Change
So don’t feel alone this year if you don’t feel like it. It was a strange year for us all anyway. It’s still right after the holidays. This may not be the right time for you. Remember, fellow procrastinators, that putting something off that can be done today never actually helps, and waiting for a date on the calendar only gives you the time to out maneuver yourself anyway. New years resolutions are a hoax. You won’t anger a god, and if your crops fail, you may just need to take up a different hobby like knitting or something less…living.