I love New Year’s Eve. For me it is a day that is very cleansing. Out with the old and in with the new! I enjoy taking down my holiday decorations, cleaning the house from top to bottom and the feeling that the new year is going to bring something special. I always sit down and think about what new things I am going to do, or not do, in the upcoming year. I have to stop myself though and realize that New Year’s resolutions are not black and white….I’m going to do something or I’m not going to do something. That has never worked for me in the past.
What has worked is being a little more gentle and realistic with myself. I always have good intentions about things I want to do, but I get so overwhelmed with so many demands on myself that they end up not happening at all. First I have to realize that the year is very long and I have plenty of time to achieve my resolutions. At the beginning of each year I make a list of what I would like to accomplish, like a bucket list, and then priortize my top two or three. For now, everything else on the list will be a bonus! With those top two or three things I’d like to try and accomplish, I break them down in to smaller steps. I’ve noticed when I look to far ahead, the goal can seem unattainable. Breaking them up into achievable steps can be far less daunting. Now, I look at each of those steps and realize sometimes I can do them and sometimes I can’t. It would be a perfect world if I’d just walked on through each step and did them perfectly, but remember….life gets in the way and can throw us off track.
That is the most important thing to remember about New Year’s Resolutions…life gets in the way and can throw us off track. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel and give up. Be a little more realistic and easy on yourself. When you feel off track and you don’t feel like you are accomplishing your goals, relax a bit, realize the situation won’t go on forever and then get yourself right back on track. Goals and resolutions should be flexible and fluid. They should always be in the back of your mind and you should always be making small efforts to try and accomplish them, but when life gets in the way, don’t use it as an excuse to quit. Use it as a resting period for all your previous hard work. Enjoy the rest, then get right back on track. Look at it as just a little bump in the road that caused some ripples in your plan. It didn’t destroy your plan.
Here’s an example. Let’s say at the top of my New Year’s Resolution list was a goal to run a Half-Marathon. I’d sit down, figure out which race I wanted to run, then I would plan out my training schedule. Seems simple right? Well, then let’s say I started training and I got shin splints and had to sit out a few weeks from running. When I healed I started back into my traning regimen, but on a lot less instense schedule. A few weeks later my daughter decides to sign up for a sport. Now my less intense schedule has become almost non-existent because my training time is being overtaken by carpooling her to her sporting events. Instead of having time to run in the afternoons, now I have to run in the mornings, but my runs end up being not as long. As the race date approaches I decide that I am not up to the fitness level I need to be at to run the event. I then decide to pick another race and start my traning from the beginning. Did life get in the way? Yes. Did I give up? No. Was I flexible? Yes. Did I end up running a half-marathon? Yes, in fact I ended up running three in one year. It took a lot longer than I thought, but I did it. This is a true story by the way!
All I’m trying to say is…don’t be afraid of New Year’s resolutions. They are not black and white. They are tiny little goals we set for ourselves that help define what we are going to do with ourselves the rest of the year. Have fun with yourself, enjoy the bumps and hills in your journey through the year. Sometimes one of those bumps can throw you onto a different track that ends up being even better that what you were originally planning. See? It’s not black and white, it’s life.