Evolving Resolutions

Ah, it’s that time of year again: the beginning. Where everyone’s mentioning how they want to change this and change that about themselves, let go of all the “haters” and “negativity” and “New Year, New Me”, or whatever. The New Year is apparently a time of reflection and resolutions. And what a great time to start, right? Brand new! Filled with hope and passion and whatever else to get us through the first week before we return to the very things that had us hating the previous year.

How long will the cycle continue?

I don’t know about you, but I’m growing really tired of it.

Instead of simply saying that we want to “lose weight and get fit” or “go the gym regular” or “let go of negativity”, how about we make plausible goals using a few simple rules.

Let’s evolve our resolutions to actually mean something. A good friend of mine told me today that he wasn’t going to have a resolution this year because he always failed at them. What? Uh, maybe that’s because you set unrealistic goals? What is it about New Years and the word Resolution that makes people think it has to be impossible? That it can’t be something simple? Are the simple “goals” (notice I didn’t say resolution) meant only for the middle of the year?

I personally don’t think that’s necessary. Over the years, I have made (and by that, I mean adapted) 3 rules to make a successful resolution. Technically, it’s just one basic rule with two support rules. But you get the point.

  1. Set a Plausible goal! I cannot stress this enough. I’ve been through the “get fit and eat healthy” resolution phase and it’s never worked. Why? Because that brand new lifestyle I was trying to impose in myself is miles away from where I currently was and I didn’t have a step by step plan of how to get there. Which brings me to…
  2. Plan out your plausible goal! While I was trying the whole “get fit” resolution, it worked until the rest of my schedule caught up with me and all of a sudden, I didn’t have time to eat healthy anymore. Planning is key. Set mini-goals along the way to not only encourage yourself through success, but also see your progress.
  3. Phase your goal into the new year. It’s all fine and dandy to say that you want to start eating healthy in the new year, but why not start slowly in the last weeks of December, or even early January (or really whenever you plan to begin your resolution) so the change isn’t so sudden.

To make this all actually make sense, I’ll give two quick examples. Last year, after a massive cavity, I decided that my New Year’s resolution would be to have better oral health. Now I already brushed once a day for a good minute and I thought I already head good oral health. But the cause of the cavity was my diet choices at the time, so not only did I have to brush better, I also had to change some pretty fundamental things about my diet. So I set a plausible goal – I was going to brush my teeth twice a day. I planned to brush my teeth when I wake up and right before I go to bed. I made it so that the first thing I did was brush my teeth, and the last thing I did was brush my teeth – every single day. I didn’t start this on January first, I began sometime in December, after I had gotten back from my root canal appointment. Throughout the year, I changes little things, like my toothbrush, toothpaste and started using floss. I didn’t starting using floss until about 6 months after I had ensured myself that brushing twice a day was a habit for me. Which ended up being around September. It took time, it took effort, and it took discipline!

This year, I’m planning a new New Year’s Resolution – which I’ve already started – which is to grow closer to God through his word. To read his word every morning as a start to my day. Now I’m not just going to open a random page in the bible and start reading, that would leave me very discouraged. I instead began by taking on a 7-day reading plan through the bible app on my phone (I mean I use my phone every morning anyway, why not?). I finished the 6th day today and started the Bible in 1 year plan, which I plan to finish by the end of the year.

Now I’m not saying I’m automatically going to be successful. Even with my oral health, there were days when I really didn’t want to brush my teeth, or I was just too tired, or some other excuse. But in the end, even though I skipped a few days, I succeeded in my New Year’s Resolution.

So if you find yourself constantly failing at New Year’s, assess your definition of success and failure. Are you making it harder than it has to be? Don’t condemn your year before it even starts and give yourself an actual chance at success. Trust me, it’s possible.

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