Yep, you read that right. I’m hesitant and uncertain about New Year’s resolutions. I don’t make them cause clearly I would break them. Just like 99.9% of the population. I know, a bunch of you just gasped and/or rolled your eyes. How dare I generalize like that. So rude. Excuse me, you’re right. You make that resolution and come talk to me in December 2016 when you are still fat and drinking all the vodka.
I get the concept of a resolution. It’s a new year which means everything else can be new too. You effed everything up the last 365 days so it’s like a nice restart button to get back on track. And who likes to start anything new on a negative note? Positivity makes you smile. Smiling gives you endorphins. And endorphins make you happy. It’s a fact. But for me, setting unrealistic goals (while always set with the best intentions) only make me hate myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully capable of setting and achieving goals, everyone is, but for some reason those new year’s goals never work out and here’s my theory on why.
For starters, everyone’s doing it. Seriously new year’s resolutions are the new black. Everyone’s wearing them and if you don’t jump on the get skinny train then honey you are missing out. But fa real, setting realistic goals has to come from within. We all have vices. Drinking, eating, sitting. Our indulgences are often our minds way of coping with the stresses of life and doing them can often be unconscious. Your kid is 4 years old and still crapping his pants? Let me eat this donut. Wait a second, did I just eat 12 donuts? It’s like some evil auto pilot eating. But let’s be real, you didn’t eat all the donuts just because your kid can’t use a toilet, there’s more to that story and you have to be willing to unearth some of that muck in order to make long lasting changes in your behavior. I’m not saying you need 10 years of intense therapy to set a goal people. That’s shenanigans, plus who has time (or money) for that. But it does have to start with a compassionate curiosity to the real forces that motivate our behavior and make us resist change (and yo-yo diet instead).
In addition to all that business, expectations about new year’s resolutions are all outta whack. I think a lot of times people think making one change will fix all their problems. Nope. Not one bit. You can be skinny and still hate yourself just like you can be fat and completely love your life. That kinda goes back to our motivations. Is your resolution really what will bring you joy? Cause I dunno, donuts kinda make me feel joyful. So does wine and sitting. So while I would like to quit eating and drinking and being lazy, resolving to completely eliminate those things from my life might not be the most realistic way for me to grow into the new year.
Then there’s this whole way we are taught to achieve goals. Raise your hand if you had that nifty acronym about being SMART drilled into your brain. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely people! Get it together. The only one I really love here is realistic. Clearly, I’ve typed that word like 12 times already. But the others, while completely comprehensible, just don’t keep me motivated. When I’m too specific or limit myself with time constraints my focus is narrowed and I’m more likely to cheat. Instead, I like to focus on general areas of improvement. Example, I don’t do fitness, but I always want to be more active so instead of resolving to work out everyday, I find ways to be inspired to move. A walk with my kids. Playtime at the park. A dance party in their room. My movement doesn’t have to be specific and if I miss my workout class for the day I’m not beating myself up for failing. Cause I didn’t fail. I still created movement in my day.
Ultimately, resolutions are intended to make us feel better. To make us be better. But if we get all hung up in the act of resolving instead of the intrinsic motivations that make us want to evolve and grow and thrive, then we’ll never make it to the end of the next year feeling rejuvenated or happier or soberer. Instead of focusing all our energy on diets or workout challenges or over-donut-eaters anonymous meetings, why not instead spend some time learning about all the mess of you. Dig deep, get dirty, and find what motivates you to live so you can make it to December 2016 a skinny sober vixen we all love to hate. Just kidding, I mean we all hate to love.
Will you be making a resolution this year?