It’s the end of January. ALREADY. If you made a New Year’s resolution, how’s it going? Have you stuck with it, or did you “fail” the first week?
I have to admit that I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never been great at proposing, “From this day forward, I will do XYZ,” and keeping my promise. There’s one exception: My 1996 New Year’s resolution was to become a vegetarian. Years later, my husband still says he wishes he’d known the Ashley who would share a steak with him!
Resolutions are hard to keep, in part, because they can be dreams or goals that are a bit out of reach. And since the change is supposed to become fully realized over night, the majority of our resolutions do not offer us any lead up time to prepare ourselves. For many of us, New Year’s resolutions are big changes that we’d like to make, but we don’t do the prep work to ensure our own success. Think of it: Would you have made this same big decision to change something if it were another day, like July 6? Probably not. Some of us use this “magical” date, when we advance our calendars forward to a new year, as a catalyst for change. But this wishful thinking (even if highly motivated!) fails to acknowledge that most of life’s changes require background, foundational, or supporting work.
Additionally, one of the downsides to New Year’s resolutions is the guilt that comes with not keeping them. You’ve set your goals high, envisioned what life would be if XYZ changed, and then you don’t meet your goal. You feel you’ve failed…arghhhhh!
But there’s hope! As one great thinker said, “Every new day is a chance to change your life.” I believe that many of us need to hear this now and hear it often. Truly, we don’t need to rely on some calendar date to stir us into change. Each and every day offers us the opportunity for making decisions and choices that can bring us close to our personal goals of change. Baby steps can build the solid foundation for life-long, not week- or month-long, change.
So if you’ve abandoned your resolution, or even if you didn’t make one to begin with, you’re offered a fresh, new, start every single day. And if you don’t move in the desired direction one day, please don’t give up. The good news is that there are many paths to meeting your goals. Sometimes even a few “wrong” turns can end up leading to positive change and a stronger you with more resilience, determination, and tenacity than you ever thought you could muster. Now that’s evolution!