I love thinking about New Year’s resolutions. January 1 is a clean slate and I give myself plenty of time to consider the previous year and how I could have done things better, faster, easier. Well, you know, so I can make plans for a better outcome.
This year I have been thinking about resolutions in general. Why I keep making a lot of the same ones and why it’s so easy to have them fail. Sheesh, part of the resolution culture demands our intentions fall by the wayside and then we get to feel guilty…which allows us to not feel guilty.
Then it hit me. Change generally occurs when the need is immediate and there is some sort of pain involved. Everyone knows the woman who stopped smoking the second she discovered she was pregnant or the alcoholic who started AA when his family left him. Do you think Tiger Woods is calling anyone other than his wife?!
Last year I had “lose weight” on my list. It wasn’t until I hit a number that I could not live with that I actually went into action. Four weeks later I was down eighteen lbs. I had “keep house organized” on my list. It wasn’t until I set a timer and discovered that 15 or 20 minutes was all that stood between me and neatness that I was no longer able to say it was too much after a long work day. I don’t have to write that down again. I wrote “have a successful business” in late 2008. I did okay until I signed a lease for an office. When being successful includes having a few hundred dollars a month available for rent the first of every month it’s amazing how much higher I set the bar for myself.
So here’s the anti-dote to resolution guilt: Don’t make any you aren’t willing to take on right now. You can’t feel guilty about something that doesn’t exist. Life is challenging. Don’t make it harder.