There is something powerful, nay magical, about a new beginning. That was one of my favorite things about university—everything was divided in semesters and breaks, with fresh beginnings abounding. The “real world” is marked with the changing of seasons, but I rarely perceive the second, third, and nearly infinite chances I have for change and newness. I love New Year resolutions for this reason. It is a rare time where millions of people recognize a chance to seize life by the horns and do something.
Now, the kind of resolution one makes can make all the difference. I do think there is a difference between good and bad goals. For example, “lose weight” is not the greatest choice (it is also the #1 most broken New Year resolution). Not because it is not an extremely healthy practice if you do, in fact, need to shed pounds, but because the resolution is not specific or strategic enough to be attainable. “Go to the gym 3 times a week,” on the other hand is a massive improvement. I suppose this can be the difference between a goal and a resolution. Goals are attainable, where resolutions just require lots and lots of resolve? Just a thought.
What’s better, in my opinion, is when you decide to do something new. Try rock climbing, face a fear, take a high ropes course with your boo thang (yes, boo thang), read Gone With the Wind (can that be done in a year?), become someone’s language partner, explore your city, paint, stop complaining (try it for one day each month).
One fantastic idea I came across was to set a goal or resolution for each month of the year. If you’re dieting, this could be one item to fast from for each month (no dairy for January, no refined flour for February, no sweets for March). It’s a great approach to making a resolution because it keeps each month exciting and goal-oriented, which results (hopefully) in great accomplishment or in great motivation to try again. I had the idea that maybe I could try to face a fear for each month of the year, but then I realized what I was saying and quickly shut that idea down. Maybe next year…
Last year after giving birth to Little Girl, I decided I wanted to run a mile in less than 8 minutes. Mr. P (my boo thang) is a competitive marathoner, so I was almost embarrassed to admit my goal. His response? To set a running goal for himself as well! December snuck up on me fast, with my having done very little speed work to prepare, but two time trials later, I ran a 7:48 mile with Mr. P cheering me on the whole way. Had I never set the goal, I could have never felt that rush of fulfillment. For 2014, I have 2 resolutions:
1) Run a 5k (3.1 miles) in 25 minutes or less.
2) Give more (money, time, effort).
I know my second resolution breaks my own rule by being so general, but I have a few strategies for how to do this. I do love new beginnings. Now I want to hear from you guys. What are your resolutions for 2014? If you don’t do resolutions, why not?
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.