New Year’s Resolutions

In Creating Happiness by Barbara Jacoby

Originally I had planned to announce a new program this week but it seems that I need to delay it for at least one more week. So, I have decided to address a subject that I have never completely understood nor supported.

Yes, I have made New Year’s resolutions and never was able to keep a single one of them and I do not personally know one other person who has been able to do so for any length of time. Let’s be honest. If it was as easy as setting a date to make a major change in our lives then we would never have to wait until the New Year. We could just decide that today, January 4th, we are going to lose 30 pounds or any other of a long list of personal behaviors that we want to change.

All of our behaviors have evolved over a long period of time and it is totally unrealistic to think that you can just change overnight. Any behavior has some sort of root force within ourselves that needs to be understood and addressed before we can make a major change. And in addition, there has to be some sort of motivation to make that change that can help to sustain the change over a long period of time.

Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to lose weight during 2007. I decided not to set a number. At the end of the year, I had lost 2 pounds. I made the same resolution last year. At the end of 2008, I had lost an additional 8 pounds. This results in a net loss of 10 pounds over the last two years which to me is a major accomplishment and I never had to make this goal an all-consuming focus in my life.

I was aware that there needed to be some changes made but that did not mean that I had to eliminate everything that I most enjoyed. I had to learn that I could still have my favorites, just not as frequently. By not punishing myself by eliminations but rather limiting my selection of those things that were not so good for me, I always knew that I could have those choices so they did not seem so very important anymore and they were not a focus in my daily thinking.

I am going to try that with other things in my life this year. I am going to pursue a number of new goals and I will do so at a pace that works for me. I don’t have to work on everything everyday. I may not even start on some until later in the year. I just know in what areas I wish to make changes and will definitely have made significant progress in all of those areas by the end of 2009. Now that’s a resolution that works for me!