Now that it’s mid-January, I thought I might work on setting my New Year’s resolutions for 2015. My first resolution is to break the habit of procrastination. Ha ha.
In the past, I have wasted dedicated a fair amount of time listing resolutions in great detail – part of me optimistic that this bright and shiny new year may actually be the year that I succeed at accomplishing my resolutions, the majority of me knowing there wasn’t a snowball’s chance.
After many attempts at this traditional exercise, I finally accepted the fact that resolutions, new year’s or otherwise, aren’t for me. I’m sure some people find new year’s resolutions helpful at initiating great changes in their lives; however, I am not one of those people. I actually think they just set me up for failure. Who wants that?
As an eternal pessimist realist, I have difficulty planning or setting goals for the day after tomorrow, so resolving to make changes for an entire new year is just impossible. Another problem is that I am prone to occasional bouts of depression which zap most of my motivation thus interfering with daily goals so you can imagine it pretty much kills the success rate of any new year’s resolutions. Some days my resolution is “today I will get out of bed and brush my teeth!” Whoo hoo!
New year’s resolutions also seem to be very grandiose for some reason and, realistically, would probably require major personality changes that typically couldn’t be resolved within a year even with the assistance of behavioral therapy.
“I will stop blaming others for my faults and mistakes (even though that’s been my MO for the last 20 years of my life).”
“I will exercise four times a week (despite the fact I haven’t exercised since Jane Fonda work out VIDEOS and shiny leotards were at the height of their popularity).”
“I will stand up for myself more (although I’ve pretty much been a wuss most of my adult life).”
Yeah…those should be easy to resolve in a year.
(Oh and, just to clarify, these examples were certainly not pulled from any of my previous new year’s resolutions lists. No way.)
I not only avoid new year’s resolutions but I have finally accepted that setting long term goals in general doesn’t work for me. Same concept basically – I think they can set me up for failure and needless guilt. As I mentioned, I operate better on the daily goal system. Baby steps. If I consider the night before all I want to accomplish the following day (and some days that may not be much) and, in a pinch, WRITE it down, I stand a better chance of completing my list which gives me momentum to build upon for the next day’s activities and so on.
My inability to think beyond tomorrow does pose problems of course. You know when you’re watching a movie and you sense the approach of a particularly gory scene that you don’t really want to watch so you squint your eyes to hide the gore? No? Is that just me? Ok, well, anyway, that’s kind of how I approach long-term planning. I focus on the generalities and avoid looking at the nitty-gritty details until the impending date gets closer. Probably not the most effective method but it’s the best I can do.
Having said all of this, I do want to clarify that I don’t think creating new year’s resolutions is necessarily a bad thing nor is setting goals. To each his own. However, you also have to “get real” with yourself and your personality. If you find yourself setting lofty new year’s resolutions on January 1st and lamenting your failures on December 31st perhaps you should rethink things. It may be your internal wiring is such that you need to take smaller steps. Set up a daily resolution, a weekly resolution, or a monthly resolution and see how you fair. Besides, why just set up a yearly resolution list? Life is always changing, whether we like it or not, which obviously can affect those resolutions you so diligently worked on at the beginning of the year. Perhaps if you are committed to making new year’s resolutions, the solution to success is a happy medium. Create your resolutions, make your lists of goals, but always remember to remain flexible. I know, such a profound and new idea!