But ultimately you need to make them because they are, for you, the right thing to do, not because a giant ball is falling in Manhattan.
The answer is, “yes, of course”. We can all play our part in changing the world one step at a time. About 4,000 years ago, the ancients began marking the start of the new year, which then happened in late March around the spring equinox.
“Vagueness is the key”. Don’t say you’ll do fifteen pushups at bedtime each night. Have you been sleep deprived, not been able to travel as much as you would have liked to, or haven’t been able to follow a particular diet or workout plan? Even as a therapist, I don’t see many people resolve to improve their mental health once a new year begins. Don’t say you’ll lose ten pounds – say you’ll watch what you eat.
So, if you only make one resolution for 2018, start by re-wiring your brain so that you clearly understand exactly what a resolution is. Sticking to your pledge of working out every day is. Sometimes it’s an accomplishment just to get out of bed in the morning.
So I try to stay realistic and shoot for getting a little better every day, a little more patient, a little more considerate, a little more conscious of my health, a little better father. “It’s all a matter of interpretation”. A random date on the calendar is not going to make something we kind of, sort of think would be a good idea to instantly become reality.
Unrealistic expectations also sabotage the best-intended resolutions. By deciding not to make resolutions, you avoid having them fail to live up to the peer pressure standards. You made it this far, so take some credit for the achievement. When was the last time you did something new? I’ve already joined a Facebook group of folks from around the country who are embarking on the same resolution come Monday. But this year, you must change that. Sunday is New Year’s Eve and Monday is New Year’s Day which means this weekend will be a long one with local banks, government offices, schools, and post offices closed Monday in celebration of the arrival of the new year. Might as well just leave the bed unmade for the duration, and try again next year. This simple change of perspective liberates your dreams for the year ahead, and stops them from being rooted in a single moment of change, then prevents them from being derailed by a single moment of failure. For example you can choose how many miles you’d like to run in a workout or certain foods you’d like to entirely cut out by the end of the year. In the longer term, if it’s possible, research indicates you might be best off setting yourself up to work fewer hours every week.
But whether your resolution is to make Santa’s “nice list” or to kick an old habit, the new year offers the flawless opportunity to make a fresh start.
Now at the end of 2017, I have to confess that I haven’t made a whole lot of progress. Maybe yours is: “I will exercise 3 days a week for 52 weeks in 2018”. “I’ve lost several awesome residents at The Renaissance this past year and I’m reminded that life is short and I really need to pause sometimes and focus on the things in life that really matter the most”. I usually provide some paper that dissolves in water for people to write down the things they want to release, either from the past year or life in general. She likes to look at the bright side of life.