Realism and resolutions

When the clock chimed midnight on December 31, the 2012 ended. It was the year of the apparent Mayan apocalypse. The year Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space. The year of the Summer Olympics in London, and once again, a year in which I didn’t fulfill my New Year’s resolution. The changes I decided to make under my breath went not only unnoticed by others, but also by myself. I guess I wasn’t too resolute on those resolutions of mine.

But now we enter 2013. A fresh year with no apocalyptic signs on the horizon, so maybe it’s time to think once again about what we want to change or achieve over the next twelve months. Maybe you’ll plan on changing the world. How will you do that? Raise money for the global poor? Strive to increase international literacy rates? Your resolution can be much more personal though, as most are. This year you may want to shed a few pounds, smile more, or finally start to get out. Let’s face it though; you didn’t fulfill your resolution from last year so why would this year be any different? You might as well quit while you’re ahead.

This sort of negative thinking is what always leads my resolutions to forever go unfulfilled, as with others, from what I’ve heard. We live in the world of constant ifs. If I didn’t do it last year, what makes people think I can do it this year? This thinking needs to change. As much as it may be disappointing if you don’t achieve your resolution, it feels even worse if you don’t even try.

Let’s take a look at the most common resolutions according to various online sources; save more money, get out of debt, get fit/ lose weight, change job/ careers and quit smoking. All of these have a commonality to them. If you even try, you’ll be better off than you were before.

When it comes to saving money as a resolution, some people have excuses, either realistic or not. These include not being able to pay bills if you save or not being able to continue hobbies. But if you put away even a dollar a day, that’s 365 more dollars than you had the previous year. You may not have put away enough to buy anything big, but you will have achieved your resolution.

One of the most common resolutions on the list that I’ve heard is the third one, to lose weight. First, when it comes to this resolution I want to express my personal input. Lose weight for yourself, not others. If you want to fit into that smaller size, or feel that you’re reaching an unhealthy weight, this resolution may be for you. But if you’re doing this to look better in the eyes of others, you shouldn’t. Be yourself. Anyway, even if you attempt this resolution, chances are a change will be seen. You don’t need to apply for a gym membership or spend copious amounts of money on weights. Try doing simple things such as taking the stairs or going for a sunset walk every night listening to your iPod. These may not get you to the ideal you had in mind, but the number on that scale will only go down.

What you need to keep in mind for resolutions in the New Year is that they are your personal goals. Don’t let family, friends, or society dissuade you in terms of your goal. Dare to dream big, and keep to your goal. If you believe in it, and try every now and then over the year, chances are you’ll make some form of progress.

I’ve always had conflicting views on resolutions, but I feel that they need to be granted respect. If someone is striving to make a change in his or her society or within his or her personal life, this is an admirable goal. Conflict in my eyes arises with the fact that this is your goal for the 365-day span, decided on one specific day of the year. I once read, “make life resolutions, not New Years resolutions.” Unfortunately, whom I heard it from is now forgotten, but the message is not. Don’t try to cram your goal into one frame, or one segment of your life. Don’t let losing weight; saving money, writing a book or quitting smoking be based on a deadline. If you’re adamant on these ideas then allow them the time they need to be fulfilled. As much as I force myself into personal deadlines and professional deadlines, they don’t have to be involved in every aspect of your life. For every second you count waiting for something to happen, you’re wasting one second that could be just as incredible.

In the end, New Year’s resolutions can be good for you, can be fun, and can bring great feelings if achieved. Just remember, do it for yourself and on your own time. This will make the reward more enjoyable, the chance of benefiting more encouraging, and bonus: if it’s on your time, you may not have to take the stairs everyday of the week!

Happy 2013.

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