We all make them. Every year. Even as kids, I remember being forced to come up with and write down a series of Resolutions on photocopied activity sheets as far back as grade school. Anyone else remember these:
How about making childish resolutions like:
- Eat my vegetables
- be nicer to my brother/sister
- do my homework
- do my chores without being asked
- take more baths
just to name a few that I can remember making. I’m sure most of you reading probably made similar resolutions.
Now enter into adulthood. Every year, most of us will make resolutions, promising that “this will be our year”. We tell ourselves we’re going to find a new/better job. We tell each other that we’re going to lose some weight, be more financially responsible, spend more time with loved ones, etc. but most of us, myself included, don’t make it past February before we completely abandon our resolutions, or completely forget about them.
I work at a pool/fitness center and already the New Years Resolution crowd is trickling in. We’ll see dozens of new faces nearly every day for the next month or two, enough that we’ll recognize you and grumble in the office about how obnoxious you are, and come February, most of the Resolution crowd will have cut back to two/three days a week, then to one, then until not at all. We might see you sporadically if you come in with your family or it gets dangerously close to the most dubious “swimsuit time” but even your new found motivation will only last two weeks, maybe a month.
So why do we do it? Why do we make these promises to ourselves that year after year we fail to keep? I know I’m guilty. I did better this year then I have in years past. I paid down my credit card until I needed to buy new glasses unexpectedly, I lost 10 lbs but then my work schedule changed and my five days/week in the gym dwindled down to one, maybe two if I was lucky. I don’t recall making any promises to spend time with my family but I’m such a home body anyways, had I promised to spend more time with them, I definitely fulfilled that one. I promised myself I’d get back to following weight watchers and I did, for about 4 months, before my work schedule changed again and I work every day that they have meeting times. I failed miserably finding a new/better job. I haven’t even had so much as an interview in 3 years.
Artistically speaking, I promised I’d spend more time focusing on my drawings and paintings. I did pretty good with that too. Finished one painting, started two more that I subsequently haven’t finished. I diligently updated my facebook page and my Christmas wish came true two and threefold. Unfortunately, I don’t draw/paint so much but I fulfilled my dream of being in a craft show and those 3 months worth of prep were the most labor intensive of my life! I’m going to say I broke even on this resolution since I didn’t do so much drawing and painting but Good Lord, you should see my jewelry inventory right now!
I think we make these resolutions because we need hope. We need to believe things will change, that they can change. We need to believe that things will get better, that we can make them get better. So why, in the end, do we end up disappointed and chagrined, and vow to make the next year different, better? Part of the problem is life in general. Work, family, etc. We forego that one trip to the gym to have drinks with the girls after work and that one day turns into two, turns into three, turns into “I’ll go back next week” to “I’ll go back after this birthday, that wedding, and this Christmas”.
Writing down our resolutions is a good idea, if you’re going to read, reevaluate, reaffirm them on a regular basis, until that paper you wrote them on gets thrown away or eaten by the dog or misplaced.
I don’t think I’m going to make a resolution this year. I find it’s better if I set an attainable goal instead of a broad and generic promise to myself. I also find that with goals, I can set smaller goals to achieve the big one, instead of killing myself in the gym 7 days a week from now until February, if I say “I’m going to try [insert random physical activity], I’m more likely to do it because:
1. It’s different and
2. my own curiosity is going to get the better of me when I start wondering about it.
If I say “I’m going to focus on losing 5 lbs”, it’s not nearly as daunting as worrying about losing the technically 40 extra pounds I’m carrying around with me.
Resolutions are great, I admire the people who actually stick to them, but realistically, for myself and for most every one else I know, they’re unrealistic and quickly forgotten amidst the New Years Day hangover and late holiday get togethers.
Oh, PS. as far as this blog goes, I definitely nailed my Resolution to write weekly (for the most part) to keep myself accountable for my creative ventures and keep myself creating!