I don't make New Year's Resolutions. Why? Because I have enough daily crap on my plate to contend with, so adding more pressure on myself to do things I already know I need to do doesn't make any sense. Besides, I'm a chronic procrastinator, so I'm sure I'd just push them off until the next year.
My point is, resolutions don't work for me. I don't know anyone whom they do work for. Granted, I can see the appeal of looking at a new year as marking post for a fresh start, however, there is one problem. No matter how long of a list of resolutions you make, or how resolved you feel you are, you are setting yourself up for failure if you forget the common denominator.
We get so excited about making changes that we often disregard digging into the root cause. We think our feelings about facing a shiny, fresh New Year will be enough to carry us through and see our resolutions end in success. Euphoria is a fleeting thing and soon enough, we are faced with reality. And the reality is that if it wasn't important enough for us to do it no matter what time of year it is, we aren't going to do it just because we made a fancy promise to ourselves while drinking champagne and kissing random people ... unless your resolution was to kiss more random people.
So, let's take a look at some of the most popular New Year's Resolutions and dissect why they fail.
1) Losing Weight. I've already seen numerous tweets about people hopping on scales and looking up their BMI to determine just how many pounds they are going to resolve to lose. That's great, but how are you going to do it? Do you have an action plan ... an realistic action plan that doesn't involve getting a 12 week parasite? Even if you do have a fantastic plan in place, have you stopped to look at the reason WHY you are resolving to lose weight? Is it because it's the thing to do? Have you been stockpiling Cosmo and comparing your reflection to the pictures you find? Are there people in your life who are bugging you about looking unacceptable? Do you need to do it for health reasons?
If you don't determine the root cause behind why you WANT to lose weight, or, more importantly, whether or not you really NEED to, you will fail. Sure, you may drop some initial pounds right away, but have you changed what needed to be changed? If you are resolving to lose weight because you are unhappy with yourself, then start by determining how to fix that first.
If you're doing it because everyone else is, then you're just a sheep and you really should find another blog to read.
Without taking a close, hard look at you, the common denominator, you are just going to find yourself in the same place in 365 days.
2) Quitting Smoking. This is a task I would like to accomplish this year, but I am well aware of the fact that making a resolution about it will not cause me to quit. I've "quit" many times before and always come back. To be perfectly honest, the more it becomes taboo, the less I want to quit simply because I refuse to let my freedoms be taken from me. Right now, I have more reasons to keep smoking than I do to quit, so, until I change that about myself, I'm not going to be successful at ceasing to be a smoker.
If you truly want to quit smoking, then sit down and look at all the things you will need to put into place in order to accomplish this goal. Talk with your doctor about it. Research what method has the lowest recidivism rate. Go into it with as much knowledge and contingency plans as you can gather, but remember, you are what will determine if you make it.
3) Finding Love. There is something so inherently wrong to me about making a New Year's Resolution to find love. It's like people want to set themselves up for heartache. I understand wanting to find a mate, however, resolving to find love creates an incomplete picture. This is the biggest area where you need to factor in the common denominator.
Not many of us resolve to be alone. We want companionship. We want a mate. We want a love that defies all others. So what have you done today to be that for yourself? To be that for your friends? Your mate? The search for happiness must first be turned inward if we ever hope to find it. Have you ever tried being in any kind of relationship with a miserable person? I can barely even stand to see their tweets, let alone consider sharing any portion of my life with them.
Pause to reflect on who you are and who you want to be. If you have no idea who you are, then finding love needs to be off your resolution or to do list until you get a clue. Take a look at why your relationships failed in the past and learn from those mistakes. If you refuse to learn from history, then you are doomed to repeat it, no matter how sincere your resolution is.
What I am really getting at is that we can only change what we control and hope to influence what we don't. The only thing you can always control is YOU! If you want a better life, then figure out what it is you're doing to prevent that. Take inventory of what compassion you've shown to others, what restraint you've shown in your own life, what freedoms you've allowed yourself and what areas you have repressed yourself. You are the only constant in every situation in your life, which is actually good news since you are the one in control of you.
As I look back on 2010, it was a very good year in which I followed through on a lot of the changes I needed to make and was blessed with the love of a lifetime. I still have a long way to go in becoming the woman I want to be, however, there will be no New Year's Resolutions for this bitch. I walk forward into 2011 knowing I have the power to change my life and praying for the ability to influence others to find that power within themselves.