Why I hate New Year’s resolutions…

I don’t particularly like New Year’s Resolutions. Last year as I was beginning the New Year someone I was working on a project with asked me if I had made any. I said that I had plans to make changes, but that I wasn’t going to call them New Year’s Resolutions.

Resolutions often seem like punishments or penance of some sort. I feel the same way. Is it realistic to say, “I’m giving up all chocolate for the year,” if you don’t have a deep reason to never eat chocolate again? I don’t really think so. That said, I do think the New Year is a good time to evaluate the previous year and think about what changes you would like to see in the next.

Instead of calling these changes resolutions, I prefer to call them lifestyle changes. You might think I’m just playing around with words, but I think how we live out a lifestyle change can be different from how we live out a so-called resolution.

What I’ve found with resolutions is that they tend to be cold tofurkey, meaning that once you mess up, it might feel that all is lost. Additionally, since they often are not purposed as long-term lifestyle changes, they are hard to sustain (like I say above, are you really never going to let a piece of chocolate pass your lips again?).

When you make a lifestyle change:
changes can be gradual, meaning that every step made in the right direction can be celebrated.
you are setting up a sustainable goal for your entire future. This isn’t for THIS year, it is for your entire future.

Here’s an example: In January 2016 one of my goals was to get healthy, and this included losing a significant amount of extra weight I was carrying around. I joined Weight Watchers and over the next several months was able to successful lose the weight I needed to, and in the process lower my blood pressure that had been creeping up. Since completing the weight loss, my next goal was to of course maintain my new healthy weight, which I have also successfully done. The point of my sharing this is that while I was on Weight Watchers I refused to refer to it as a “diet” (to the point of gently correcting friends referring to it as such). Instead, I called it a lifestyle change, because a lifestyle change is lasting. A diet is often a temporary program to get into a dress or lose a specific amount of weight. I wanted to be healthy, and my health included being at the right weight for me. (I know that using BMI calculations are considered in some ways passé, but I think it is a good start to see where you might be at.)

wwkeychain

My Weight Watchers keychain with charms marking accomplishments . The key on the far left represents my meeting and maintaining my goal weight to become a lifetime member.

So this year what kinds of goals or lifestyle changes do I want to implement? One of them has to do with blogging in general. For a long time I felt like I had to be in exactly the right place in life to blog, but a friend reminded me that if it was something I wanted to do I should be doing it now. One of my lifestyle changes will be to work on a more balanced life, making sure I am making time and space to prioritize creative pursuits, including sharing my plant based diet with others.

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, and best wishes for any lifestyle changes you hope to make in the coming year.

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