By Katharine Luckinbill
Every year I make a New Year’s resolution and every year without fail I, well, fail! How do I get myself to stay on track and do what I said I was going to do in 2013? This is the year I want to really make a change and make it stick!
Resolved to Change,
Dear Resolved to Change Kaitlyn,
I didn’t used to believe in New Year’s resolutions. I just know too many people that make them and then break them almost immediately. Or I come across something like this and lose all faith in humankind and their ability to make sane declarations about their lives. However, this year I have resolved to believe in resolutions – that they can work, that they are achievable and that they are, in fact, a good idea.
According to Wikipedia, resolutions stem all the way back to ancient times…
“The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
At “watchnight services”, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.
There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Catholic fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility, in fact the practice of New Year’s resolutions partially came from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.”
I guess the most important thing to keep in mind when making these kinds of statements is whether or not they are realistic. You don’t want to set yourself up to fail right from the get-go.
For example “I’m going to go to the gym every single day all year.” No. You won’t. Unless you start working at a gym, or living in one, that will literally just not ever happen. Or, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds by the time winter is over.” Nope. How about start with 5 or 10 pounds? Reach that goal, and then set another one.
If you decided to drive across the country and didn’t plan on stopping in certain places along the way you would never make it. You plot out your route, so you know the best way to get there, but you have to make essential stops along to way to give yourself a break.
Create some “life rest stops” for yourself and you’ll be more likely to cross the finish line.
Whether your resolution is financial, physical, healthful or emotional – kick start your New Year with goals that you can really see yourself realistically and logistically accomplishing.
Or – if you already given up in the first 24 hours, and don’t want to feel guilty – read this article from the WSJ published today about why it’s maybe okay to just go ahead and quit before you’re ahead.
Good luck and here’s to a Happy New Year filled with health, wealth and joyful blessings of love and compassion.
Dear Kate is a column that runs on Kate-book.com every other Thursday at noon. It is written by the wise Katharine Luckinbill, who you should follow on Twitter. Got a life, friendship, family, dating, or relationship question that you’d like Dear Kate to answer? Send it to email@example.com and she will help you out!