Don’t save your resolutions for New Year’s Eve. It’s a contemplative night, and one that lends itself to making grand promises and sweeping declarations, but this is usually about as successful as grocery shopping on an empty stomach: you wind up with too many resolutions and a lot of them go bad.
Instead, whenever you see the need for a change in your life, why not take incremental steps to bring that change to fruition, starting immediately? If, for instance, you realize that you’re often stymied in political discussions, make plans to set aside 20 minutes per night to research the issues – starting now, not January 1st. One of my recent ones has been that whenever I find myself feeling ignorant (“Wait, when do you use ‘lay’ and when do you use ‘lie’?”), I’ll look up the answer right then.
There’s a reason we like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s that they’re really helpful. We all have things we’d like to change about our lives, and the idea of making that change ourselves is proactive and awesome. Just don’t let rules get in the way: rules like, “resolutions are for New Years,” or, “I need to fix this all today,” or, “there’s only one way to fix this.” Tiny steps for incremental change will net far greater results in the long run, and a willingness to try new solutions will help you adapt and keep on moving toward your goals! Try it today! (And other infomercial slogans!)
One last word to the wise: if incremental change and many solutions aren’t helping you reach your goal, consider whether your goal is something you need to reach. To borrow an example from a friend’s life: if one is dealing with consistent hip issues, physical therapy is definitely cool, but if you can structure your life to avoid long walks and get your cardio in with swimming, do you really need to do physical therapy with the goal of becoming a distance runner? If you live on your own and hatehatehatehate cooking for yourself, why not try something like nutritional shakes? Think outside the box, and be real with yourself about your capabilities and desires. Too often, we let ourselves make resolutions not only about changes we need to make, but also changes that would be best for…someone else…
So, go on. That one change you’ve been sitting on? Try implementing it today.