I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions. But I do believe in periodically reflecting upon my life and then determining which conscious steps I can take to improve it.
This might sound like oxymoronic thinking, but consider this: We all know several people who have made a resolution, only to break it shortly thereafter, often within the first two months of the year. New Year’s resolutions are so popular that the federal government keeps track of the most frequently made resolutions. (I know you’re curious, so here a few of the most common choices: lose weight, manage debt, get a better job, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, reduce stress.) Yet a Google search on “New Year’s Resolutions” results in 2 million Web sites promising to help you keep that resolution. Why do we continue to make resolutions but always need help with their upkeep?
It’s my personal belief that New Year’s resolutions fail because they are made for the wrong reason – a sense of guilt due to societal expectations and pressures. People might say something like this to themselves: “I don’t want everyone else to think that I am not interested in improving myself” or “I don’t want to be left out of the resolution conversation among my friends,” thus leading to an arbitrarily made resolution. We may not consciously connect all the dots and follow that same thought process, but the end results are the same – empty promises made with no real intention, or desire, to keep them.
These resolutions are driven by an outside, unrelated factor of a new calendar year. But there’s no passion and drive to actually implement improvements because they are not internally driven and created after introspection and reflection. No one is going to successfully quit smoking or lose those extra pounds just because we bought new calendars. Our bodies don’t understand these outside factors and, as a result, our spirits won’t respond with the follow-through needed for success.
Instead, we should resolve to improve our lives, health, relationships, habits, and well-being – but only after being personally stimulated to do so. I make conscious choices to change my life for the better all the time, but never starting on Jan. 1. Just in the last year, I have started eliminating sugar from my diet and incorporated Eastern medicine and philosophy into my life, which are two changes that have drastically improved my quality of life. All of these decisions and improvements have been successful and fulfilling and were driven from my internal desire to create a change for myself. None of these resolutions began in January.
So spend some time really analyzing what aspects you want to improve in your life, do some research to decide which methods or steps you want to take to achieve that goal, and then wait until you are spiritually motivated to act upon that desire. Then, and only then, will you be successful.