It’s that time of year again. With the new year upon us, many of us make resolutions we may or may not keep for the new year. Instead of writing about my resolutions, I thought I might look back at some of the resolutions of years past, and just how well they worked out. I am sure most of them will ring true for some of you.
1. I will quit smoking. And I did. Twice. I think that about sums it up LOL . I am actually good at quitting smoking since I have never been a heavy smoker and I can go for months or years without it, and then for whatever reason, I will start back up again. I remember the first time I quit. It was a resolution and I managed to keep it up for the whole year. Then, when the year was over I decided the resolution was null and void and started smoking casually again. Fail.
2. I will diet/lose weight. Come on, we have all had this one at one time or another. Especially since new years comes right after we do all that overeating during the holidays, and during the winter when it is too dark and cold to easily get out and exercise. Needless to say, being healthy and slim is more than a resolution, it is a way of life. Dieting will get you a temporary fix, but you have to change your idea of “normal” eating if you really want to lose weight and keep it off.
3. I will exercise/ go to the gym. This one used to piss me off. For years I had a gym membership and went 2-4 times a week. I would hate it because in January the gym would be overrun with New Year’s resolutioners and I wouldn’t be able to get my favourite machines. It made me mad because I knew that my March they would all have given up and be gone whereas I wouldn’t. And sure enough, come March the gym would be back down to its regular levels. Sad but true.
4. I will stay away from social media. This one is newer since social media didn’t exist for more of my life than it has. But let’s face it. Life has evolved and if you don’t engage somewhat you are missing out. Does that mean farting around on Facebook at 2am. when you should be sleeping? No. But you can take advantage by setting up a feedburner to scan all your favourite websites for new articles and then browse through them. You can also set aside time to visit some social media websites, i.e.. I will check Facebook once a day for 20 minutes, and stick to it. Even when your phone continually buzzes and your instinct want to grab it and see what’s going on, don’t!
5. I am going to get out of debt/ save money. I think a lot of people make this one, but they stop at the resolution. You can’t just say you are going to save more, you need a plan for how you are going to do that. After watching a million and one episodes of Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess, Money Moron and the like, it is clear to me that many people have no idea where all their money is going. Try living only on cash so you can get a better grip on your spending. Resolve to make a financial plan and make one. Then stick to it. I know its tough with all the clearance sales in January screaming your name, but you can do it.
6. I will get that promotion at work. Umm, maybe you won’t. Now you just set yourself up for failure and disappointment. Don’t make resolutions that you have no control over. What you can do is work hard, take initiative, and do the job like it’s the one you want to have, and hopefully you will be rewarded with a promotion or a raise. If you don’t, at least you have the rewards of a job well done, and from knowing that you are contributing your best every day. Trust me, you will reap rewards from that, even if they aren’t necessarily the ones you wanted or expected.
7. I will spend more time with family. This one actually isn’t so bad, but you need to go one step further. Spending time with your family isn’t the same as spending quality time with them. Ever been sitting at home and look around and notice that while you are all in the same room, no one is actually there. Your husband is on his smart phone, one of your kids is playing with a tablet and the other is watching television, and you were just on the computer blogging? You need to be present, in the present moment. Engage with your family, have fun, take joy in the simple things. The other day I felt my mind starting to wonder so I decided to help my son build ramps with random objects to see how fast we could get his cars to roll down them. It was fun, and actually a little challenging. (The winner was the ironing board FYI).
8. I will get organized. So you go on Pinterest, see a thousand good ideas to try, or go to Home Sense and spend money on a bunch of fancy organizers to get rid of that clutter and feel good knowing you are on track. These are only temporary fixes. You need to look at why your life was cluttered to begin with. Do you like to shop and have too much “stuff”? Are you so pressed for time that you can never put things where they need to go? Figure out what got you into the mess in the first place and then figure out how to fix that first.
9. I will quit drinking. This has never been one of mine, but I know it is common. I used to be quite a heavy drinker myself, but I had to give it up to get pregnant, be pregnant and breastfeed my kids. in that context, it was easier because wanting a family trumped my desire for alcohol (although at times in the beginning, not much). Now I am a total light weight. This one is tough because people drink all the time and there really is no harm in a few drinks now and then. Unless you are an alcoholic and need to completely stop, I think it would be better to resolve to cut down. It’s the white elephant. If you know you can’t have it you will only want it more. If you set reasonable limits, like I will have one glass of wine with diner on Saturdays or I will only drink when I am out at a restaurant, then you are more likely to stick with it. Also (sorry for repeating myself) but you also need to look at the reasons why you drink and deal with those. Do you drink out of depression, boredom, anxiety, stress? In a way it is easier to try to quit drinking than it is to deal with your stress or depression, but if you don’t your resolution will definitely not last the year.
10. I will start volunteering. I love this one, but sadly, I also see how fleeting is. I work for a non-profit organization that depends a lot on volunteers. Every year we get those people who have decided to become a volunteer, we spend time and money training them and at first they are great. Then the summer comes and there are weddings and BBQs and they start missing shifts here and there. Then the fall comes, and gets colder and dark, and all the sudden they stop coming. If you really want to become a volunteer more power to you, but realize this is a big commitment, one that you are not just making for yourself, but for the organization you are volunteering for. Instead, why not just think about giving back in a larger context. Maybe you can donate money to your favourite organizations. When you are grocery shopping, why not buy something extra for the food bank as well? Make sure that what ever you decide to do fits in with your life and schedule. Remember, every little bit counts, and you don’t need to become Mother Theresa in order to make a difference.
Overall I think the theme is pretty clear. Superficial resolutions will not work unless you are actually willing to make a change in yourself first. Actions come from thoughts and if you are not willing to change the way you think you can bet you will be seeing the same resolution next year. Good Luck!
What resolutions won’t you be making this year and why? Are there ones that you always seem to try and fail? Do you even believe in making resolutions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.