The Goldenrod Chronicles, Resolutions Are Dumb
And you will fail
Hi & Hello! 👋
It’s me! The Grinch who stole all morsels of hope and joy! (Why no Grinch emoji?)
If you’re not doing it now, or were not doing it before the gluttony fest that is the two weeks leading up to Christmas through New Year’s Day - you probably won’t magically start doing ‘it’ and succeeding just because the calendar flips to a new year.
We were born to fail. Obviously! There is the whole New Year’s Resolution Industrial Complex which is some sort of sign that there is money to be made in our failure here in a way a whole industry has popped up around this trying to prop up a false notion in which we can magically go from one day to the next and think that a big huge thing will change because the year ends in a different number. I mean, how else do gym’s survive without cashing in on your big hopes and dreams via an annual membership in January?
News Flash! I am a terrible person here to ruin all your hopes and dreams!!
JK, not actually JK at all! The ‘it’ is that magical thing you think you are going to be resolute about as your New Year’s Resolution. And, honestly - I’m just here as the pain-in-the-ass reminder that behavior change is like a whole thing with a whole body of science behind it and - if you really really really want to make a big change - it takes more than just one day’s worth of resolve.
I am all for using the new year to refresh some things. It is a start, and a fresh start is always a good start. But - remember - that each month has a start, each week has a start, each day has a start, and each morning, noon, and night has a start.
I like to use the new year to remind myself of my values and where I want to spend my energy in the year ahead. (Fine, a calendar year is a nice and interesting quantity of time to live by.) This is as much where I do want to spend my energy, as much as it is where I do not. (Or, where I really really want to spend my energy but I am a ‘grown up’ now and realize that time is not a limitless resources and I have to actually be choosy about what I do with mine. aka: this self really wants a new iPad with apple pencil and to learn how to use Procreate to make stuff BUT ALSO WHAT DO I WANT TO GIVE UP IN ORDER TO MAKE THE TIME FOR THAT? Right now, nothing.)
If anything, it’s a nice pause button time. What was I trying to do with my time last year? What was I trying to accomplish? Did I actually spend my time that way? Did I actually want to? Was there something that served me better? How do I shift in the year ahead?
And - of course - to remind myself that I have a goal to drink more water. That’s it. Should I have a ‘resolution’ it’s to drink ‘more’ water. (And really, that should be a SMART goal so I know when I am drinking ‘enough’ water, but I also know that I can remind myself every day (every hour) to drink sufficient water and still I am not there because the habit is not there, so more water it is.)
If you really, really are a person who likes to make resolutions - here’s a suggestion. Don’t aim for a long-term goal or a thing that will take a lot of ongoing effort or a behavior change. Instead, pick one thing you have been putting off or wanting to do forever, and do it within the first month of the year.
For example - have you been putting off that doctor or dentist appointment? Or calling the exterminator or writing that letter to a dear friend or responding to that email from Joan? Do it in the first month of the year. And maybe that means breaking it down into steps: Find dentist’s number. Make a calendar hold to call dentist while office is open. Make an appointment for the first time that fits into your schedule. (I am so sorry if you have to start with ‘find dentist’ or ‘find dentist in my insurance network.) Break it down into baby steps and do them over time and get the thing done. Then you’ll be like I DID A THING and success feels good and them maybe you will want to do more things!
I know, I know - I am being a huge downer. But I truly think that the New Year’s Resolution Industrial Complex is built to set us up for failure (because there are dollars in our failure). See more below, but a firm decision to do (or not do) something is very different than actually doing or not doing something.
a firm decision to do or not to do something. "she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more"
the quality of being determined or resolute. "he handled the last French actions of the war with resolution"
admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.
"she was resolute and unswerving"
This is not a knock on you or me. It just seems factual that life is full and hard and overwhelming and adding ONE BIG NEW THING just because it’s The New Year doesn’t set us up for success. Am I ready to start ONE BIG NEW THING just because it’s a “new” year? Do I have all the resources I need to succeed? (And, what does success look like anyway?)
I’m going to stop here before you all start throwing tomatoes at your screen. Goddess bless you humans who can go cold turkey at being a nicer person or ‘eating healthy’ (whatever TF that means) or ‘writing a novel”.
I find I am better when there is some holistic change that sets the right pace for the change, and usually that’s some pretty big life stuff. I also find I am more ready or willing to make change when a certain mood hits. Like I know it in my brain and body that I am ready for ______________________, and it becomes easy.
So, that’s it. Hate me if you want. I just want you to feel contentment.
Over and out,