Well, it’s officially a new year. And with that comes more than just changing out your calendar for a new one but also the feeling of a fresh slate.
A chance to start over and tackle all of the things you planned to accomplish the previous year but which somehow got away from you.
You might be thinking that sounds just like a New Year’s resolution. But it’s not.
No, this year I’m resolving to not make any New Year’s resolutions.
I don’t want the stress and the disappointed feeling when those resolutions start to wane around March.
How many of us can relate to the resolution of committing to a healthier you? You buy that gym pass, convince yourself you’ll go at least three times every week.
You start out guns a’blazin’ only to lose steam once the nicer weather starts to make a comeback and really, it’s so much more fun to go to the lake with your friends than to head to the gym.
Or what about that resolution to cut down on your coffee intake? Or reduce the amount of sugar you’re putting into your body?
You quickly realize you just function better in the mornings with those multiple cups of joe and by the time Easter rolls around, well there’s too much chocolate everything to remember you resolved to cut down on the sweets.
I know there are some people out there who are great at making New Year’s resolutions and sticking to them and they’re probably better people for it.
I’ve heard of people who have resolved to quit smoking and they’ve actually done it.
I admire those people and congratulate those who have done it.
But when it comes to myself, I honestly can say I can’t remember ever having made a New Year’s resolution that I actually followed through on.
Maybe it’s my own fault. Maybe I don’ t make realistic expectations for myself.
I still remember vividly when I was nine deciding to give up all candy for Lent. A whole 40 days. It was to be my sacrifice in the days leading up to Easter.
Of course, not even two days in, without even giving it a second thought, I starting eating a bag of Skittles on the bus ride home from school. In horror, I realized what I had just done.
I remember thinking I was surely destined for hell and ‘what would I tell my mom?’
As it turned out, my mom laughed at me. Laughter! Not the reaction I was expecting in my distress.
The point is, my mom told me that maybe giving up all candy was unrealistic and that I should start smaller. Maybe give up chips. Or chocolate bars. Instead of the whole enchilada.
That’s the tact I think I’m going to take this year. Instead of a resolution for the whole year (because I know I won’t last the whole 12 months) I’m going to think of one thing I can do each month. Something that is out of my comfort zone. I’m going to pull out the calendar for the year and pick one thing that I can work on.
Maybe one month will be a worry-free month (those who know me well will be laughing at that one) and I’ll try and take a vacation from stress.
Another will be dedicated to volunteer work.
I’m excited for the possibilities and it’s so much less stressful than making a New Year’s resolution that I’m not entirely positive I can really stick to.
Taking it in smaller chunks, such as eating healthier for a block of 31 days, seems a lot less daunting. If I wind up going longer than one month, well that’s a bonus. But I know if I make it a year long commitment, I likely won’t stick with it.
Three hundred and sixty-five days is a long time, after all.
This year I’m not setting myself up for failure. I’m focusing on what I actually can do and not setting the bar too high.
Bring on 2017.