New Year’s Resolutions…blecchhh. I’m not a big fan, although I have a made few in my lifetime. I’m all about self-improvement, but after dealing with the complex emotions of the holidays who has true “resolve” to make yet another promise they’re not going to keep…not me.
Wintertime is not a highly motivational time for me. I think I suffer to some extent from seasonal affective disorder, although I laugh at the concept of calling it a disorder. I’d rather call it, “That-time-of-year-when-all-I-want-t0-do-is-lie-on-the-couch-watching-TV-and-consume-mass-quantities-of-comfort-foods.” It’s winter and it’s cold, and that’s what happens to human beings in Winter. Heck, bears hibernate for a good reason. There’s really nothing else better to do. So, I don’t think the fact that humans tend to be lower energy, less active or motivated this time of year should be called “a disorder”. It should be called “normal.”
So, the pressure to massively change ourselves this time of year is not only misguided it’s an absolute recipe for failure. For instance, when you pass by your local gym or fitness center in January note the massive amount of cars in the parking lot. Then note it again this time in February. I would almost place a bet on this day in February there will be half (or less) of the current cars in the parking lot. The cars that remain will be the cars of those who made fitness a life habit a long time ago.
Example…I’ve needed to shed a few pounds (okay, several) for a long time. This time last year I was some 23 pounds heavier than I am now. Did I decide that I was going to lose 23 pounds in January of last year? No. I decided to start losing weight around mid-July. Why mid-July? Because it’s easier for me to try and lose weight in mid Summer after my yearly vacation and the Fourth of July are over. I can get outside and exercise, and my appetite is much reduced in Summer anyway. It just makes sense to me. If I had tried to lose that weight starting in January I know I would’ve doomed myself to failure.
Like it says in Ecclesiastes there is a “time for everything…” While January may be a good time to start changing a particular thing in your life it might not be the time to start changing others. While I’m sure there are people who start new habits in January with great success I’m not one of them.
I read a good blog post today about resolutions and how overwhelming they can be. This person said instead of making resolutions to change several things in our lives it was better to pick one word to encompass all you want to do this year. Basically what you do is write down all of the things you want to change about yourself or your life (I know…that can be overwhelming in and of itself). Review and think about these things and then pick one word to cover all of them. It narrows down that overwhelming list into something more manageable.
Example: I have picked the word “maturity”. I want to become a more mature person in many aspects of my life…in my relationships (both with God and others), professionally, and emotionally. That word pretty much covers all the items on my self-improvement list. Do I need to lose more weight? Yes, but right at this moment I’m not getting down on myself for not having the motivation to push forward. I’m trying to maintain my weight and the good habits I learned in the last six months then when the weather warms up I’ll have to motivation to push forward with more weight loss.
So, doesn’t concentrating on one word seem less daunting than making many promises that we’ll most likely end up breaking anyway?
Makes sense to me…