Because I suck at New Year’s Resolutions

It’s true. I suck at New Year’s Resolutions.

I never NEVER keep them for longer than a week or so. But, every December 31, I strap on my optimism and write a series of  excellent resolutions and then exactly 365 days later, I rack my brain trying to remember the previous year’s resolutions. Geez, I have a short memory. And I had so been hoping to avoid Alzheimer’s.

Perhaps it’s just that I am unfocused, weak, and without self-discipline. If only meaning well and having determination were enough. Sadly, good intentions does not a resolution make. It is the moment to moment, day to day, week to week, month to month that creates change.

This year I am approaching it all differently. I mean, really, does anyone keep their New Year’s resolutions? Do you? I started wondering what someone kept their New Year’s Resolutions was like.

Just sayin, but I am not sure I would want to hang out with them. Please forgive me if you are that rare kind of person who says, “this year, I will eat no ice cream” and holds it throughout a year. All the more power to you. But, my guess is, you aren’t a ton of fun to live with.

Fortunately, for the 99%, if you will, who have a slightly lower percentage of success, there are other options.

How about instead of resolutions, we create intentions? And  in lieu of it sweating out lists like

      • Lose 20 pound
      • Drink 7 glasses of water/day
      • Visit Grandma regularly
      • Quit smoking
      • Organize the garage
      • Find my soul mate

let’s think about making intentions for the year. It would be more like a principle or a theme. Using words that inspire and center us.

I began by asking the question: “Who do I want to become?” Following are a few of my word considerations.

  • Intentional (in living healthily for myself and the world)
  • Courage (in speaking my truth in situations where I am fearful)
  • Honesty (with myself and others)
  • Awareness (of others needs and of God)
  • Generosity (toward family and friends, those in need, and myself)
  • Movement (in my music, writing, and peace work)

What I have decided to focus on are two words: Generosity and Movement. I will be in touch from time to time with an update of how my awareness grows. Because I suck at resolutions.

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2 Responses to Because I suck at New Year’s Resolutions

  1. I totally agree that resolution lists don’t work. They externalize the motivation and the language used (or implied) of “I *will*… puts the goal of the resolution always out in the *future* always a little bit out of reach. No wonder they fail!

    What I do instead, which has worked so much better, is to write down where I *am*…but write it as if the 365 days has *already* past and I have *already* made the changes!

    I’ll use your list as an example of the language/time/verb/tense switch:

    The old way:

    This year I will:
    Lose 20 pounds
    Drink 7 glasses of water/day
    Visit Grandma regularly
    Quit smoking
    Organize the garage
    Find my soul mate….(etc)>

    The new way:

    “It is December 31, 2012 and…

    – I weigh
    -I drink 7 glasses of water a day
    -I have had so many wonderful visits with Grandma this year!
    -I am smoke-free (and loving it- who’d have thought it was ever any other way?)
    -The garage can hold not only one, but two cars, and I have a huge donation receipt from the Goodwill
    -I am in the most wonderful. stable relationship with the coolest person!

    When I write my resolutions as if I’m looking back 365 days from now, somehow it does exactly what you propose in your above blog- it internalizes the wishes and somehow I find myself much more successful at making the reality of the “future now” start to happen in the nearer now!

    I become who and what I want to become!

    Anyway- once again, Shannon, love your blog!


  2. shannonbeck2 says:

    Thanks Deb. I love the “affirmations” approach. Much more positive — I did this exercise with our staff yesterday and they came up with some great words. Unclench was one. Good words.. Now to get them up around the house!

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