For many years now, I have contemptuously voiced my disdain for New Year’s Resolutions. I mocked people for resolving to eat healthy or pay off debt simply because I thought it was an utter cliché that others only felt inclined to make changes in January. Some people spend three months talking about what they are going to do in January, and by March, they’ve given up.
Sure, it’s easy to say to someone that you (claim) to love, “I told you so” if they don’t meet their goal. But that creates a bit of a deficit, doesn’t it? Not only do they feel bad about not being able to do the things they talked themselves up to do, but now here you are, Negative Nancy, making them feel lower.
Here’s the thing, as much as we think we know that others are going to “fall off track” with their resolutions, we should also know that if we offer encouragement, they might not. Isn’t that a crazy idea? Instead of offering defeating responses to someone’s newly resolved goal; we should offer them edification and empower them to meet their goal. Here’s the magical reason why: Sometimes, all it takes is the encouragement of another for that person to feel like they can do it. And wouldn’t you much rather add love to someone’s situation than criticism or judgment?
This year, I am resolving to not mock those who make resolutions. I am going to encourage them. In fact, I am going to go against my own personal rule of not making a resolution by making this resolution: I will be intentional about ensuring that my exchanges with others; that my experiences and interactions with all people, will be met with an open mind to receive new perspectives; met with two ears to listen, and a mouth that responds with words that originate from love.Upon further reflection, I think I understand why we elect January as the time of year where we make changes. We have just barely made our way through the holidays—which may be filled with enjoyment and spectacle, but for many, it is a deadening time of year filled with stress, anxiety, and pressure.
Winter is chaotic for so many people. It’s the resting period of warmth and growth (for those of us with snow) and by January, we are over the cold, dreariness of this season; the lack of daylight hours, and the credit card bills. We need something to get us pumped for Spring. So, we make goals. Whether they be for our body, our mind, or our spirit; we set goals to prepare us for the next season of our life.
Don’t we feel this every year, anyway? Don’t we just feel it within, that this year is going to be my year? I think we make resolutions so we can find a healthier way to let go of the past. We resolve to do things differently, because as we reflect on our past year, we are aware of the choices we made, and even the mistakes we made, that didn’t provide the most rewarding results. If someone makes a plan to do things differently, let’s add positivity to that! Change is good.
Even if you make the same resolution every year, don’t give up. Don’t let a knucklehead like me—a cynical, skeptical Negative Nancy— stomp on your plans to move forward. The reality is those of us who think it’s OK to be “honest” with others about their “unfathomable” goals are simply projecting our own disillusionment of resolutions. Ignore people like that.
Make a resolution. If you break it, the beautiful thing is you don’t have to wait another year to create a new one. Resolve to making resolutions all year, and if you falter, stand back up, dust the dirt off your shoulders, and keep reaching. I believe in you. You can do it!