The thing is, we all know that making New Year’s resolutions is sort of a joke. We know that by the next day around 4, we have a fat cookie, making null and void our ambition not to eat sugar. We know that by mid-week after said vow to exercise everyday, we will poop out on the couch with a re-run of Sex and the City. We know that our conviction to cook nightly, go to bed early and keep our closet clean, will all disappear faster than our first cup of morning joe. In all likelihood, no matter how we write out our list, we’re not going to stop buying so many lipsticks in order to find the perfect one that will make our thin lips look Angelina plump, or be perfectly patient with our kids on a daily basis, or always, 100% of the time use sunscreen (I do mostly, I swear).
But I still make that list every year. And here’s why. Because just by taking that piece of paper and writing down what I would like to improve, I’m opening up my brain to the possibilities. For me, this introduction is a first step to taking the desired action.
ME: Listen brain, I’d really like to exercise every day. I have been slacking off because of injury, and I want to commit again.
BRAIN: Really, well we’ve got a lotta stuff on the list up here. We’ll see what we can do. You might want to start down there by moving your fat ass off the couch once in a while, though.
ME: Really? I have to leave the couch to exercise? Damn…..
When I’m very clear about what it is that I would like to be working on, I’m more apt to be able to work on it. Often, I’m wishy washy about something, thinking “yeah, I’d like to do that, sort of, kind of, it would be good, I guess.” But that kind of ambivalence is a deal breaker. If I’m not 100% on board, you can forget it. So, I only put resolutions on my list that I’m serious about. And I don’t make a list that’s 200 miles long either, because that’s just a waste of time I could be using to work on last year’s resolutions. See, I may not be able to exercise everyday, but I will at least be mindful that I’m attempting to make that a priority and eventually, I might get there. It’s sort of like my “to do” lists. I never get to all the stuff on it in one day, but within some time period, I kill that bad boy.
So, as you create your New Year’s resolutions, try and be honest about what you really want. Keep them short and specific. Let them marinate in your brain and see if you don’t get somewhere with this approach. I think it’s the way to fly. Happy 2014. May gratitude lead your way.