Just in time for the New Year, I figured it’d be fitting to discuss some of my thoughts on New Year’s resolutions. The current discourse seems to be that New Year’s resolutions are stupid, largely for two different reasons. The first is that no one ever really fulfills them, and the second is that it doesn’t make sense to time your behavior change with a certain point in the calendar when you can just start today. While I understand the second argument to an extent, I think the first one is ridiculous. Not that it’s not true, but that it completely defeats what I think resolutions should be about.
The thing about resolutions is you can’t just make them foolishly – they have to be something you’re passionate about. Last year, I resolved to lose 10 pounds in 2016. Yes, this is the stereotypical resolution, but it was also one that I was passionate about. After gaining weight starting college and only really being able to keep it off temporarily, I was sick of the way that my body looked and felt, and I was ready to make a change. So I put in the effort to make this resolution happen, because it was something I really cared about. I made time in my day to work out. I ate healthier. At the beginning of the year, I temporarily cut out fried foods, red meat, and white flour, and in August, I went fully vegetarian.
So instead of losing 10 pounds, I lost 15. And even after meeting my goal, I’m keeping up those healthy habits, because they’re something I’m passionate about. It’s all about whether or not you really want it – if you resolve to lose 10 pounds but don’t have the burning desire to do so as your motivator, it’s probably not going to happen.
My resolution for this year is to read 50 books – once again, reading is something I’m passionate about. I loved it as a little kid, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve slowly read fewer and fewer books. As a way of preparing for this resolution, I’ve gone out and bought a number of books that I know I want to read. I’m also planning on setting aside time to read on a daily basis – I want to reserve those last 15 minutes or so before I go to bed as my designated reading time.
That’s another thing about making resolutions happen – it requires preparation in the year prior. It’s a bit foolish to jump straight into a new change without doing any research on it. If you’re trying to lose weight, do some research on fitness routines and find some recipes you’d like to try. If you want to read more, make a plan for the books you’d like to read. Go into the new year with a strong strategy for making those resolutions happen.
Here’s to a year of chasing passions and building the habits that promote those passions.