Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolutions and Other Fairy Tales

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. "
- Lee Iacocca

Photo by Ned Stark (
2014.  It's a brand new year! You'll have to forgive me for being somewhat self-congratulatory this morning because a) I did NOT overindulge last night in the adult beverages (which makes me feel ever so much more adult and b) I am pretty darn proud of the changes I made last year.  One of my dearest family members put the year into perspective for me a couple of days ago:  "You hung in there and did all the right things--including facing your own demons and slaying them."  So step off, demons.  I will cut you.

So now it's time to up the ante.  It's the New Year.  But here's the thing about resolutions:  I HATE THEM.  They're kinda like lists for me.  I just don't participate.  I have this wishy washy feeling that change is organic and should come from your gut and not from this thing that society tells you to change.

Let's address typical resolutions one by one:
  1.  I will lose weight in the new year.  This is the granddaddy of 'em all.  Ever been to the gym in January? It's tough to find a treadmill.  Everyone there is decked out in their new fancy schmancy workout gear and they're sweating and puffing.  For about two weeks.  And then life gets in the way.  And they head back to the couch.  This resolution is worthless.  I make the same one every weekend: "I am going to get SERIOUS about eating healthy and getting fitter."  And then Monday comes.  And I don't get serious.  If I was serious about it, I wouldn't talk.  I would do.  I know this because I've done it.  And I didn't talk about it while I was doing it.  I just did it.  How can we make this a reality?  Don't make it a resolution.  Make it a life.  It's not about losing weight at all:  it's about getting healthy and making good choices for your body.  You in? I'm in...on Monday.  
  2. I will be a better person (insert: kinder, more honest, loving...whatever your adjective of choice is).  Here's another one that I fail at continually.  I am a sin-filled ridiculous human being.  I am selfish, mean, lazy, and highly distracted.  If you tell yourself that you're going to be a better person then you are probably going to fail.  (I'm that too honest?)  But maybe you should approach it a different way.  Let's all decide to take each day as it comes.  Maybe we'll start small:  I won't say that mean thought OUT LOUD.  I will do one nice thing for one person today.  I will eat dinner before I eat dessert.  Whatever it is...make it small.  Incremental change is so much easier to stomach and more likely to stick.  Don't be resolute.  Just be different.
  3. I will change my money habits in the new year.  Having been there and done that, I can say that, like the losing weight thing, this isn't a resolution.  This is a life.  This is making the choice to be responsible.  A very good friend taught me this rule:  Is it nice or is it necessary?  Sadly, MOST of the things I want in life are niceties...NOT necessities.  Food for my kids?  Necessary.  Filet mignon?  Nice.  Most of my clothing was getting frayed and/or picked with holes this last year.  (I am not a shoe girl or a clothes horse.  I am PRACTICAL when it comes to clothing.)  I actually had to buy clothes for work as a NECESSITY.  But I know a lot of people who buy clothes every week.  Nice?  Or necessary?  It's not a's a decision to be different.
One could argue that resolutions ARE life choices or decisions to be different.  I say we need a different term.  Everyone mocks resolutions even as we make them ourselves.  "Oh, let's see how long THIS one sticks...hahahahaaha!"  But if you're serious about making'll change your mind and then you'll change your life.

Been there.  Done that.  Still making changes.  I wonder if I'll be PERFECT by the end??  Like Mary Poppins I'll be "Perfectly perfect in every way."   If that's the case, I hope I get that cool carpetbag that holds everything.  TOTALLY.  NECESSARY.

Happy New Year! What changes will you make this year?

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