It’s that time of year again where we consider how we can make our lives happier and healthier over the next year. We single out our bad habits or attitudes and, sometimes secretly, promise ourselves to dedicate the next 365 days to change.
New Year’s resolutions are something I’ve been working at for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure when or how they began, or what it all started with, but I’m usually defeated by the end of the year.
It’s difficult to remain committed to change, breaking old habits and remaining self-disciplined day in, day out, for an entire year.
I’m not sure I’ve brainstormed my own resolution for 2012 just yet. I would consider doing without, but I feel like resolving to do nothing for the year is sort of defeat in itself. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I could resolve to change it’s just a matter of choosing one goal that’s attainable and strikes a fine balance between the achievable and the challenging.
There are a lot of things we could all resolve to start doing, stop doing, or do better, but it’s a matter of defining the goal, identifying the effort we want to put forth and dedicating our time.
Like anyone else, my motivation usually peaks in January, stays strong through February and wanes through March and April. By summer, my priorities and thoughts have long drifted away toward sun, sand and vacation.
When it comes down to it, I think the only way most people stick to their resolutions is to have some definition and measure of success- to see a real benefit, result or payoff. Otherwise what’s the point? Where’s the motivation?
I don’t think I’m alone in resolution dissolution. Year in and year out you can see the greatest example at probably any gym in North America. Those who resolve to lose weight bombard the gym in their too-tight, recently unwrapped athletic wear, ready to hit the treadmill, change their life and get to that target number by the end of the year. You’ll see the same faces day after day in the first weeks of January, but by February and March the crowds fade along with their lofty weight-loss goals.
Maybe broadening the resolution to ‘improve health’ rather than to’ lose x amount of weight’ would be more achievable, more motivational and less daunting.
The Happiness Project, a memoir written by Gretchen Rubin, explains the importance of setting up small checkpoints for goals and resolutions, as a measurement to individually define success or failure. Whether or not her concept would help you stay on track (because we all use different methods) is debatable, but I think the idea has some merit. I can only speak for myself, but I need to measure my progress to know whether or not I’m making any movement.
In my search for a New Year’s resolution I came across the New Year’s Resolution Generator online. Yes, you can even Google a resolution. Few that came up in the generator were some that I’d actually consider resolving for myself: to take more chances, not to dwell on the past, to wake up earlier- and one of my favourites- to “get jiggy wit it”. Then there were some that I’d never consider and wonder who would: grow basil, start a pencil collection, and stay away from gas station slushies (seriously?).
In the midst of writing and researching my editorial, I think I’ve found my resolution for this year: to learn to commit.
I’ve always found commitment a little too difficult, and a little too permanent, so maybe it’s fitting that 2012 is the year that I commit to commitment.