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whats in a resolution?

A resolution seems like a simple enough concept, but what do they really mean if no one adheres to them. What’s the point if there is no conviction involved? A resolution is usually an empty promise to ourselves, a way of making us feel better about the here and now. “A new start!” we shout from the mountain tops. But within days, however, our “resolve” has faded. The glimmer of the new year has been washed away and we are once again back to the grind of daily life. So why do we fill ourselves with false hope for change when we have no intention of really breaking from habit?

I don’t believe in the act of making New Year’s Resolutions. I find it to be an arbitrary concept that pressures people into lying to themselves. On one hand I can see that some people truly do start anew or have the conviction and self-determination to persevere, but this seems to be a very small percentage of the population. Most of the world uses the new year resolution as a plan to get to where they want to be, but through half-assed resolve. Half-ass doesn’t get you to where you want to be in any facet of life. Put in what you expect to come out of it. A resolution is a promise, a vision, a plan to make life better…so why would a person never fully commit to the promise of a better life? “Because the road is too tough, it’s the path less traveled and it’s not easy.” All these are shameful cop-outs used when our bodies are sore from a new workout, when we long for that “one” beer or cigarette, or set impossible goals filled with sweeping change.

On the other hand, a resolution shouldnt wait for a specific date or the dawn of the new year. If a necessary change is identified, than the resolution needs to be immediate. The decision to right the ship should never be placed on hold, but rather a solution should be set in motion once the problem has been identified. It’s like an unattended wound. It festers and worsens, then becomes so bad that it finally has spiraled out of our control and drastic measures need to be taken to remedy the situation. Ok, this may be a tad over-dramatic, but the analogy plays. Action is the only way to correct a flaw before it becomes truly costly and turns to habit. This applies to laziness, gluttony, mental and physical health, family, and friends. A resolution can be made at any moment regardless of the time of year and this kind of mindset needs to be instilled in all those that truly desire change.

A term we discussed in one of my last college classes was “change agent.” A person that facilitates change in any form. I would like to consider myself an agent of change and I feel that I have demonstrated this trait through the last year of my life. If I didn’t like the way things were going, I made a switch. I realize that I am greatly simplifying the immense gravity of this type of lifestyle, but it seems to me that if you truly desire change than you need not look any further than yourself to do so. It does take a strong mind and will to adhere to this way of thinking, but a person doesn’t have to jump in head first. Test the waters with small changes, just dip those toes in. If things work like you wanted, see how your ankles feel or in up to your knees. You can always back out to a comfortable level and try again when ready. Wade in further with each decision to change until you feel confident in taking the plunge. Incremental improvement, no matter how minute, is improvement in it of itself and cause to be proud of the strides we are making.

Change doesn’t need to be sweeping, it just needs to BE. Decide what you want in life and go after it. Toes, ankles, knees, waste, or cannonball, it’s all up to the person making the decision to change. Any of these choices is a starting place to the life that we desire and all deserve.

I feel that its time to stop waiting on the New Year and starting making resolutions on 3Mar, 12Jun, and 9Oct. These days have no significance in the grand scheme of things UNLESS these are the dates that we have chosen to make a change in our lives. Then these days become milestones which may lead to anniversaries and ultimately, with determination, become the change that we first desired.

If you do believe in New Year’s resolutions, then here are the key terms behind creating one. “Attainable” and “sustainable” should be the defining factors in any resolution, goal, or objective. Dont set a goal so ambitious that there is no true possibility of achieving it. Be realistic. If you havent run a step in the last 10 years of your life, maybe you shouldnt be thinking marathon, but rather around the block and then 5K. Second, the goal must be “sustainable.” Something that allows for routine and adds as little stress to the everyday grind as possible. Once again, if the idea is too lofty, we will never be able to keep up and will once again fall off the proverbial wagon.

I guess there should be a third item that needs to be discussed when formulating goals, “reward.” We live in a reward based society and no matter how shallow we think we ARENT, we all enjoy a pat on the back. The reward doesn’t have to be monetary or extravagant in nature, but it does need to be of enough consequence that we are continually motivated to improve. Small rewards at milestones reinforce our willingness to progress and I think for most people including myself, a reward based system will likely keep the routine “sustainable” if the goal was “attainable” in the first place.

Resolutions require no date to set them. They merely require resolve and the willingness to reach for what we want in life rather than loathing the one turn we get on this marble. Make life what it should be. It’s not going to be easy, nothing worth having ever is. Take a turn at appreciating yourself and make the moves necessary to become the best person that you can be.

All this being said, Chris just asked me to go to the gym and I declined. I declined to write this. “Maybe tomorrow,” I say…or maybe I’ll have a Margarita instead.

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