How are those New Year’s resolutions coming?
Well, we’ve had almost a month now to take action on our New Year’s resolutions. You remember those, don’t you? The promises you made to yourself as you went through the holidays and planned for that great New Year’s Eve party. We all do make them, I think, even if only secretly. It is our nature as human beings to want to grow and improve, to change habits that we believe are in the way of our success. As our year comes to a close, we take a look back and then ahead to a new beginning. We get to thinking we can fix those things that we didn’t like in our year and add some new events. We then ring in the New Year with lots of joyful celebration and begin again. Suddenly, we notice the calendar is nearing February and we begin to start having trouble remembering what resolutions we did make. Many of us have already given up all those grand ideas.
So, is the moral of this story to stop making resolutions? Perhaps the moral is to try harder? I was thinking a lot about that the other day as I bundled up one more time to trudge about in below zero weather, on icy roads that make driving like car skating. My resolution to just accept what the weather is in winter in the Midwest had seemingly vanished. I hate winter. I don’t like being cold, having to wear so many clothes I feel like I look like the Goodyear blimp or the Pillsbury Doughboy. I don’t think red noses and cheeks that are bright red from the wind that chills us even more than the temperature reads make us look healthy; rather, they just make us look cold! Yet, this is what winter is where I live, always has been and likely always will be. My resolution was to accept it, bless it and try to see the beauty in it. I’ve failed miserably after only one month!
Sometimes, trying to change the way we think and behave cannot be solved by making one or two positive statements, fueled by hearts full of good intention. The statements feel good when we make them; indeed, they pump us up with hope that this time, things we want to be different, will be different! Then, reality roars through like a tidal wave, washing all away.
The answer then is ……..? It seems to me, the answer lies in setting a more structured approach to a resolution. Since I really did want to think and feel differently about winter, I needed to build in some kind of reward system to keep me going. I didn’t do that. I need more than stickers on a chart, too, even though those have great merit for small children. In my case, perhaps a new hat or coat would fuel my intention to change. Perhaps it is encouragement from a friend or loved one. Whatever it is, identify not only the resolution, but the reward system you will use to achieve it.
Be as creative with your rewards as with your resolutions and you will make resolutions into reality!