Why bother making new year’s resolutions? Chances are you aren’t going to keep them, right? You’ve probably tried the traditional ones already—making resolutions to lose 20 pounds, go to the gym every day, or be more organized. Did you keep them? Mostly likely not. So now you turn your nose up at making them or worse yet, you belittle anyone else who says they are going to make a new year’s resolution. Why do we do that? It’s a defense mechanism—when we fail at something or think we don’t have the ability to do something we demean anyone else who might be successful.
The root word of resolution is to “resolve”, to make a definite and serious decision to do something. That definition holds the answer to why we continually fail at keeping our new year’s resolutions—to make a DEFINITE and SERIOUS decision to do something. We make them knowing we are going to fail and so we don’t take them seriously. If I fail, I fail; who cares. With that attitude, of course we are going to fail. Really, that is the attitude you take when just trying things out. Like, I’m going to try knitting and if I suck at it, that’s ok. Or I’m going to try making bread every week instead of buying it. No big deal if that only lasts a week as you can still go to the store or farmers market to get a loaf.
So if you are going to make a new year’s resolution, really think about it and make sure you are seriously willing to put in the time and effort to keep at it. Do you want to quit smoking, take on a healthy lifestyle or change professions. These are great resolutions and they are serious decisions to make.
Use these steps below as guidance on making them.
Four years ago I make a new year’s resolution to become vegan—I can honestly say it was the first resolution I have ever kept. And it’s the last resolution I have made. Why? I honestly haven’t had anything big enough that I feel the need to make a resolution to do. Each January 1st, I like to “set intentions” for the coming year instead. Think about setting intentions as the level between resolutions and giving something a try.
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you may have been asked to “set an intention” for your practice. An intention can be defined as an aim or a plan. Setting one would simply mean to put that aim or plan in motion. Here’s the catch, if you put something in motion, you still need to know where you want to go and what you need to get there.
Revisit your unedited list from the resolution steps above. Were there items you wrote down that you really weren’t sure whether you wanted to put a “T” or a “R” next to? These items that you struggled to classify are most likely your intentions. Not big enough to feel you need to be really serious about and too big to just want to give a try.
Here are the intentions I plan on setting this coming year:
1—I intend to develop a home yoga and meditation practice.
2—I intend to run more ultras.
3—I intend to eat cleaner and less processed foods.
4—I intend to be more courageous.
Do you have similar ones? Probably. These aren’t unique and are most likely just a variation on what your list looks like. Do you see the underlying meanings? I want to be more healthy and I want to be more bold and fearless. I bet you do to.
Let’s not forget the things we want to “try to do”, because they can be just as important and may very well land themselves on your resolution or intention list next year. That’s how veganism happened for me. I decided in October to try becoming a vegetarian, and then by Thanksgiving I tried eating more vegan and for the new year I made the resolution to become completely vegan. So you see, if I hadn’t started by trying veganism out, there’s a chance I would have failed at my resolution.
Here are a few things I want to try out in 2016:
1—I want to try to eat more fermented foods and drinks.
2—I want to try to buy less and live with less.
3—I want to try to be more outgoing.
So get your journal out. Make your list. Figure out if you want to make resolutions, set intentions, try something out, or all three. Whatever you decide, stay determined and positive about making it through the whole year working on and towards those items.
Feel free to share your own list in the comment section! Who knows, it could inspire a blog post.
Happy New Year to you all—here’s to an amazing 2016!