In a recent discussion about New Year’s resolutions, my sweetheart told me that he doesn’t believe in that sort of thing. He says that you can always improve yourself, regardless of what time of year it is.
He’s right, of course. Any day is a good day for positive change. If you wait ‘til January every year, you’re stalling. That’s like starting your diet on Monday…if you really want to lose weight, you’ll start making better choices right now. Not tomorrow, not Monday, not January. If you want to save more money, stop spending it frivolously right now, not tomorrow or on your next paycheck or on January 1. You get the idea. (I’m not saying I actually apply this to my own goals, or else I’d be skinny and rich and well-published by now. Knowing and doing are two different things, alas.)
So that is important: don’t wait to start improving yourself. Start right now, whatever time of year it is.
But there is something helpful about New Year’s resolutions, too. If you’re a procrastinator, like me, New Year’s is a great excuse to make a start. It’s almost a social imperative—everyone else is beginning their new improved life, so why not me?
It reminds me of getting into the pool when I was a kid. Our pool wasn’t heated. (I know…tough childhood.) On hot summer days, I wanted to swim—but I dreaded the initial shock of entering the cold water. So I’d stand on the edge of the diving board, bouncing in place, gearing up for the jump, and stalling. I would stand there forever…then sometimes I’d get down, run across the hot concrete to the steps and try the slow, creep-in-gradually approach. That was torture. So I’d get back on the diving board and stall a bit longer.
You know what made it easier? Other kids. My friends would show up, and suddenly it was easy. Hold hands, count down: ONE, TWO, THREE—JUMP! I stopped worrying about the shock; I just jumped—laughing, squealing—the cold was part of the experience. I didn’t HAVE to jump, but I didn’t want to be the only scaredy-pants, so I’d do it.
That’s January—everyone is taking a running start into the pool, and I’m going in, too! It’s way more fun this way.
Of course, there’s the argument that we aren’t likely keep our resolutions, so why make them?
I didn’t keep any of the ones I made last year. Didn’t hit a single goal. But because I’d set the goals, at least I kept some focus. No, I didn’t lose all the weight I wanted to, but I lost a little. And if I hadn’t kept reminding myself of those damn resolutions, I probably would have gained. Same with saving money and writing…didn’t end up nearly where I wanted to, but at least I moved in the right direction.
So, I’ll get on the New Year’s bandwagon and line up at Weight Watchers like everyone else. I’ll write new goals and make new lists and plans. I’ll visualize my life at this time next year, with all the hope and resolve I always feel in January.
Who’s with me? What are your resolutions? We can take the plunge together: ONE, TWO, THREE—JUMP!