The Unbolused Cookie

Embracing both the planned and the unplanned.

New Year's Resolutions

Gabrielle Sharkey Oldfield

New Year's Resolutions
Friday, January 01, 2016

"Mom, I hate your car."

"Why?"

"Because it's always taking me places I don't want to go."


This exchange took place between a friend of mine and her young son, but I think many of us can relate.  This is how I often feel about resolutions heading into the new year.  Sure, we are all supposed to want to be thin, out of debt, have tidy houses, and eat only whole and unprocessed foods.  But seriously, how many of us want to do the things that cause those outcomes.  We may want to WANT to do those things, but if we really did, they would be a done deal already.


I have chosen a different approach the last several years, and it seems to keep the misery of failure to a minimum and has resulted in the accomplishment of some realistic and worthwhile goals.  


Stick with me a few minutes and consider the following:


First of all, start with just a few goals.  Not a laundry list, just two or three.  Who says you can't have mid-year resolutions anyway? The next step is to think of a few realistic steps you can initiate to move closer to those goals becoming realities.  


For example, if you want to increase your physical activity, but the thought of joining a gym makes you throw up in your mouth a little bit--that is not the step for you.  However, if you love doing things outdoors, why not commit to making time to walk, hike, snowshoe, kayak, rock wall climb, or bike a few times a month?  Before any of my beloved health nuts flip out over the "few times a month" comment, relax.  The truth is, if you are doing nothing now, a few times a month is more.  It IS progress.  I have discovered that when I make time for things I love, I see the value of making more time for it.  For me, a few times a month turned into weekly outdoor adventures (most weeks) with Barre classes in the interim.  Make sure to appreciate the value in those little victories because they add up over time and can result in real change for your life.  


Maybe you have financial goals you'd like to hit, like getting out of debt.  Instead of thinking that somehow you will magically produce an extra $500 a month to pay off everything you owe in a year (personal note: if you figure out a way to do this, I'm in!) maybe start with just being better off each month than you were the month before.  Once you see progress in a realistic light, where changes are reasonable and not drastic, the excitement of moving in the right direction may keep you motivated.  You can always step up your efforts a little at a time. The idea is to go the distance and not burn out.


Alas, some goals are ones that are just better off being discarded altogether.  I would love to say my house is clean ALL the time.  To be fair, it isn't totally unfortunate looking.  I am just not great at some of the details like baseboards, dusting weekly, the area of the window above me reach, and stuff like that.  In this particular area, I have decided that most of the time "good enough" is just that and I don't really WANT to spend any of my precious free time doing the things necessary to have a perfectly clean house.   I would rather be outside, spending time with my husband, playing with the puppy, or writing.  I am perfectly okay with this choice and you should be too. If your goal is not something that will truly enrich your life or the life of your family, consider it optional.  Choose "resolutions" that take you where you really want to go!


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11