Cheney Free Press -

By SHANNEN TALBOT
Staff Reporter 

New Year's Resolutions? No thanks.

Write to the Point

 

January 3, 2019



It’s January 3. Have you broken your New Year’s resolutions yet?

I’ve never been a fan of annual resolutions. There, I said it. I won’t make them. I resolve nothing. In 2019, I’ll be the same bad-habit-having, pasta-eating, sleeping-too-late ray of sunshine I was last year, and I don’t even feel bad.

I’m not against self-improvement in any way — far from it. But framing the first of the year as the magical time to make major life changes never struck me as practical. For generations, the beginning of the year has been linked to a fresh start, when gym ellipticals are packed and everyone you know is willingly eating kale — at least for a few months.

According to a recent YouGov poll, the most common aspirations for 2019 in the United States are to eat healthier, get more exercise and to save money. But research from the University of Scranton indicates that only 8 percent of people actually maintain or achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

There’s a little adage that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So why do we continue to hold up New Year’s Day as the prime moment to make drastic changes? Change requires commitment, persistence and above all, time.

Intensive lifestyle alterations aren’t something that can be achieved in a mere few months at the beginning of the year. They’re things that must be tackled deliberately, day by day and hour by hour. But we seem to forget this when New Year’s Eve rolls around and suddenly everyone’s signing up for yoga classes they’ll stop going to in March.

The all-or-nothing mentality that surrounds the idea of resolutions sounds exhausting and nearly guarantees that people won’t reach their lofty goals. Skipped the gym today? Might as well miss the rest of the week. Forgot to meditate before bed last night? Eh, better go back to your previous night time ritual of wine and “The Great British Bake-Off.”

Any time you decide to change your lifestyle because of a certain time of year, you risk the momentum dying the further you get from that arbitrary date.

We should be striving for progress, not perfection, and progress can be made on any day, whether or not you stayed out way too late to watch the ball drop the night before. Any moment can be the one in which you make better choices, take up different hobbies or even — shudder — eat kale. And you’re more likely to stick with those choices if you don’t think of them as a vague resolution for 2019, but as a concrete goal that you’ll be working toward regardless of the date.

You don’t have to wait for the new year for a fresh start. All you need is a new day.

Shannen Talbot can be reached at shannen@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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