The Facebook post of a friend, asking others to share their New Year’s Resolutions, reminded me of what I’d decided last January. I’d add one thing to my advice: congratulate yourself on the things you do that would be on your list of resolutions if you’d made one. That makes for a Happy New Year, in my opinion.
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago. You know why? Because no one ever follows through, and not following through makes us feel guilty– at least until we forget that we made the resolutions. You can find an article that promises to help you stick with your resolutions, and probably ten other articles like it, but you know that’s bogus. Seriously? Getting up earlier so you can work out before going to work is news? And knowing that helps?
You can read another article to see if you made the same hopeful resolutions others made. I’m not sure why that should make you feel good. It just means you’re like everyone else. I like to stand out from the crowd, but I guess there are those who want to disappear into the crowd. This time, it’ll be a crowd of losers.
And then there is Time magazine’s list of the ten most commonly broken resolutions, which are almost exactly the same resolutions as the most commonly made ones. If you decide you must make resolutions, stay away from them:
Lose Weight and Get Fit
Learn Something New
Eat Healthier and Diet
Get Out of Debt and Save Money
Spend More Time with Family
Travel to New Places
Be Less Stressed
If you’re hell-bent on subjecting yourself to this doomed tradition, why not resolve to have more fun, to like yourself no matter what, to choose your worries like you choose your battles, and to focus on the positive things in your life? I like the bumper sticker that says “If Anything Can Go Right, It Will.” Having that frame of mind will lower blood pressure, and that might be on some people’s lists.
But the way we can truly turn the tables on New Year’s resolutions and live triumphant lives is to not make resolutions at all. Don’t, at the beginning of the year, make a list of things you’ll end up not doing! Take charge! Make an ongoing list of the things you actually didn’t do when you actually didn’t do them! Turn a negative into a positive! It is perfectly twisted and logical.
You can list things like: “I did not clean my plate,” “I didn’t have a third glass of wine,” “I didn’t buy that crystal chandelier until it was on sale,” “I didn’t sit at home on Saturday watching re-runs on TV Land,” “I didn’t stress over being caught in traffic,” “I didn’t miss the sunset,” and “I finally didn’t embarrass myself by writing ‘there’ when it should have been ‘their.'”
You get the idea.
So go on and start that list of things you don’t do each day that make you feel proud of yourself and that validate your good intentions. Unlike that third glass of wine, it’s guilt-free.
All photos (c) Suzannah Gilman