Sorry, but someone had to say it: your New Year’s resolutions are utter shit.
Welcome to 2018!
Aren’t you happy to be here?
You did the thing. We survived 2017 then donned an absurdly sparkly dress and partied with the naïve hope that 2018 will be better. Because we’re going to make it be better. New year, new you. Am I right?
Except for the random guy in your bed this morning. I bet you’re not willing to change that part of your life. Don’t worry, you aren’t getting any judgement from me. In fact, you can think of me as that friend who encourages you to do it. All the time.
I really do believe that New Year’s resolutions are utter shit. This is coming from a woman who used to write a list of goals for the month and has a to-do list as long as my arm, so I think I know what I’m talking about. I would dutifully write out a list of things I wanted to do and I would post it on here for everyone to see. Sometimes I achieved a lot, sometimes I achieved nothing. And that was embarrassing. And disappointing.
I had a resolution to ‘eat clean’ for a month and then broke it by eating candy at 10pm. On the very same day. Needless to say, that was the end of my ‘New Year’s resolutions’. And all the candy in the house.
I find it funny that a particular calendar date can cause such a frenzy among people wanting to ‘make a change’. What’s so great about January 1st? I look on Facebook and I see people crowing with delight over the fact that January 1st was a Monday, too. I guess all those people saying “I’ll start my diet on Monday” really don’t have an excuse now, do they?
Really, though, we have three-hundred and sixty-four other chances to ‘make a change’ in our lives. What makes the first day of a new year so great?
Now, I’m a huge believer in gradual change, which is much less overwhelming than the complete overhaul some people try to achieve. This, my friends, is why your New Year’s resolutions are utter shit. You’re basically setting yourself up for failure. Seriously Susan, do you think you can go from stuffing yourself with Christmas cakes to eating chia seed puddings?
I didn’t think so.
New Years Day invokes a weird frantic energy. If you stand still for a minute, you can feel it pulsing in the air. You must be better, you must do better, you must be seen to be making a change. New Year’s resolutions are utter shit because there’s a pressure to change your habits overnight. And that just isn’t realistic.
Instead, choose a select few behaviours that are easy to do. They could be new and different, but might not be completely out of your comfort zone. That’s the key to making a behaviour ‘stick’. Small things – done consistently over time – will create a difference in your life.
You have to change your mindset before you can make any behavioural changes. This means you have to figure out your ‘why’. This is why I think New Year’s resolutions are utter shit. Change for the sake of change is not going to stick. I mean, do I need to remind you of how I broke my resolution within one day? That was the perfect example of why it does. not. work.
I go for a walk every day. Why? Because I love it. Exercise makes me happy and as Elle Woods said, “Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Not that I have a husband. Or a gun, for that matter. I also have a Fitbit and it helps me to hit the 10,000 steps. That, however, is a by-product of my happiness. Not the sole reason.
I’ve found that having goals can shift your focus from the present moment to what you ‘should be doing’. It can ruin your day and that’s no fun for anyone. Say you didn’t live up to your expectations. So what? The moment has been and gone. It shouldn’t have any bearing on your day, but it does. It makes it easy to go back to your old habits and that – my friends – is when it all turns to shit.
A few years ago, I heard a family friend talking about choosing a ‘word of the year‘. She didn’t set any resolutions but promised to live out the year by that word. I hate to admit it, but I laughed. It seemed ridiculous that a person could achieve any amount of success by not having any measurable goals. I talked to her throughout the year and she seemed happier than ever. And it continued for the rest of the year.
Quickly, my scepticism stopped and I considered this ‘word of the year’ for myself.
And I haven’t looked back since.
2015 was my ‘year of yes’. I can honestly say that I achieved more in that year than any other. After great debate, I changed my degrees, moved cities, got two jobs, and met some amazing people (and some assholes). All because I said “yes”. If I wanted to do something, I did. I let myself experience life without hesitation and the rewards were huge.
Only a crazy person would have a year like that and decide they didn’t want to do that again.
And I’m no crazy person.
I chose words for 2016 and 2017, too. And, all things considered, those years turned out pretty fucking great.
I met more great people, travelled, finished my degree, and had a baby. How am I supposed to top that?
I’m not sure I can, but I’m definitely going to try.
My word is ‘discover‘.
Let’s see how much havoc I can cause in 2018. Three hundred and sixty-three days to go 😉