New Year’s Resolutions…

What is the reason for this tendency of many people to attempt to resolve some negative aspect of their behavior at a completely arbitrary time, like the moment the calendar shifts up a year? Do these people actually think that their inability to commit to these changes will finally succeed after many non-starts and a few failed attempts, simply because the year is now mathematically one more than it was the previous few times they acknowledged that the flaw they are focusing on needed to change? I don’t think so…

More likely, people get a general feeling of well-being simply by stating to themselves or the world that they’re finally ready to change these things, and that fleeting feeling of satisfaction then often is enough to prompt a gradual backing away from carrying out the resolution. Since one already feels a little better, why go the extra step and actually follow through with the behavior modifications required to make the resolution succeed? Then, less than a year later, it’s time for a new ‘new year’s resolution’ that is doomed to fail due to its inauthenticity.

I’ve learned through experience that the kind of personal change that people truly desire takes more work than merely making a few half-assed minor adjustments and convincing yourself that you’re doing something. It takes will, dedication, patience and perseverance to accomplish the goals that many people would ideally like to set for themselves, but are all too often discouraged from following through on because they didn’t put in the necessary effort in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that is not easily broken.

In a way, I am truly glad it’s not easy, because this is what separates the strong from the weak. I am not claiming to be in the upper echelons of the strong, but I am at least on what I perceive as the path that will bring me closer to that level. In the past year, I have made great personal strides physically and mentally in a number of areas, and thus have no need for a ‘new year’s resolution’, as I was already working on them. It is an ongoing project of mine to improve in any and all areas where I see the need for improvement, whether they are better learning the foreign languages I study, improving my skills as a musician, getting into better physical shape, or a variety of other things I am focused on.

I am not trying to say that I have all the answers, but let’s be honest here: saying you’re going to ‘lose weight’, for example, is not going to happen by choosing some fad diet and sticking to it until February when you’ve lost 10 pounds of water weight and you decide it’s now okay to ‘cheat a little’ to ‘reward yourself’ for all the ‘hard work’ you’ve done. That’s what happened last year, and look where you are now…

No, the solution is a wholesale change in your approach to life. To continue with the example of dieting, you must change the way you think about food and the way you choose what foods to eat and when to eat them. The same basic principle applies in all areas. It is always about really digging in and doing what needs to be done from the roots of the problem. Superficial solutions never work. I’m not saying it is easy, but the rewards are always worth the effort.

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One Response to “New Year’s Resolutions…”

  1. Polly Andy Says:

    Here’s a suggested resolution for February and thereafter: “Be less of a douche”. Keep at it! It’ll help you achieve that upper echelon status.

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