To Make A New Year’s Resolution Or Not: That Is The Question

[New Year Resolutions: Promises that fade or last?]

New Year Resolutions: Promises that fade or last?

Well, here we are in ‘next year‘ & today is a bit of a thinking day for me (always dangerous!) …

As you may have gathered from my recent posts, I am not very good at making New Year resolutions.

One reason is that I have an inherent dislike of saying something & then not carrying it through, or in some cases not being allowed to carry it through.  I guess the phrase, “Do as you say” has had a strong influence on me since I was very young.

I’m also the kind of person who is very good at beating myself up when I fail to do something I’ve said I would. I’m left with a sense of having let people down even though they usually try to assure me that it isn’t a problem.

I think for our own integrity, it is not a bad thing to admit we’re wrong or have fallen short of our target. Without such occasions it is very difficult to appreciate how we need to change, make the change(s) & then move on.

BUT I also realise the dangers of being over-critical of ourself. All-too-easily we can construct such a straight jacket of self-expectation or fear of failure that we end up doing what we fear most; not being true to our word. We either become so afraid of trying that we don’t, or perhaps we don’t really try just in case we do achieve our target & in the process prove ourself wrong 🙂

So where does all of this fit in with New Year Resolutions?

Well, for me, making a resolution at New Year can be seen as short-term; something we do for now or perhaps something we undertake to prove something to ourself. They can be like New Year fireworks; beautiful, spectacular, encouraging or perhaps challenging but then fade as quickly as they appear.

Such short-term resolutions can also become chains that  bind us: we try to change or achieve a goal but fail. At this point it can quickly change from being a resolution to a stick with which we beat ourself, often leaving us thinking either, “I’m not doing that again!” or “There’s no point in me thinking I can do that because I obviously can’t!

I wonder whether that is because we make such a thing about making a New Year’s Resolution?

We think about each new year as an opportunity to do something new, change what we do, change how we react; perhaps even change who we are. We seem to set ourselves a target, almost as a one-off event & the effect of ‘failure’ seems to be all-the-more heightened if we don’t achieve it.

I am 100% behind setting realistic goals & achieving them in a timely manner but not as a one-off ‘for the sake of fulfilling a New Year promise.’

What would happen if we saw these resolutions as continuous, long-term goals that we tackle each & every day until we achieve them, rather than until we fail?

I wonder whether we would be a bit more merciful on ourselves: allowing personal failure but also allowing ourselves to continue trying (& continue failing if necessary) until we succeed, however long that takes (hours, days, weeks, months, years).

I’m not very good at New Year Resolutions because I need more time & a lot more patience with myself so that I can achieve the targets I set, even if it takes longer than I expect.

This approach works better for me because I feel motivated to do it for the right reasons (bringing about a longer-term change in myself) rather than just ticking a box on a list to say it’s been done (or perhaps even leaving the box un-ticked because I’m afraid to try again).

These are just a few personal observations which I find give me chance to achieve the reason for making a resolution in the first place: personal changes that benefit us & others.

I’m not against the idea of resolutions, just aware that I need to be careful how I approach achieving them, for my own sake & for the sake of those around me.

I would be very interested to hear your experiences & opinions.

Happy New Year for 2014 🙂

Until next time …

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About waywood

Hi & Welcome to my thoughts. I share subjects that are important to me. As you’ll notice, these subjects can be quite broad & varied. I like variety; I like breadth & I like a challenge. I am passionate about helping others overcome their fears, grow in confidence & succeed. Although many people would label me as an achiever, I have battled low confidence, low self-esteem & a couple of nasty, long periods depression over the years. I can’t say, “I know how you feel” but I can hopefully empathise & offer some of the things that are helping me to turn my life around. Please feel free to comment, share & enjoy. Take care, best wishes & keep well Stuart
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4 Responses to To Make A New Year’s Resolution Or Not: That Is The Question

  1. Rob Grayson says:

    I must admit I’m not good at resolutions Stu, mainly because I don’t have a lot of faith in my ability to change for the better. Thankfully, God generally has more faith in us than we do in ourselves…

    • waywood says:

      Agree totally Rob 🙂

      I think my main thrust is that because we fail (for whatever reason) we often discourage ourselves (lose faith in ourself) to get up & try again. This issue is less about the resolution itself but more to do with giving ourselves a chance to make the changes, which usually takes longer than we expect & plenty of mistakes along the way 🙂

      • Rob Grayson says:

        Very true, Stu, very true. I’ve heard it put this way: failure isn’t falling down, no matter how many times and how badly; the only failure is refusing to get up again when you do fall down.

    • waywood says:

      I like it 🙂 Take care.

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