To Make Resolutions or Not?
This post was originally published on the Family Talk Blog. It was republished with permission on DaVita Stories.
It’s hard to write about New Year’s—so much has been written about this holiday. Some years, pundits suggest that making resolutions is a good thing. But then the next year, we’re told that no, it’s a bad idea. Of course, like most adults, I’ve made scores of New Year’s resolutions. Some lasted one week, some persisted for several months, and a scant few have been helpful, launching me forward on a chosen path.
New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to dance, connect with friends and family, drink champagne at midnight (if you can stay up that late), and watch the ball float down on the Seattle space needle. For some, it’s a chance to get drunk and forget everything. A mere turning of the second hand, the yearly countdown, propels us into the next year—2019. It marks the end of the winter holiday season and for many, the New Year starts with a big credit card bill and an extra couple of pounds from too much of everything! A good reason to make a resolution to budget better in the New Year and lose weight!
So, I guess you’ve realized by now–I’m not a big fan for making New Year’s resolutions. It’s not necessary to wait for December 31st to affirm what’s important to you, to consider what you want to nurture in yourself, and to make gentle course corrections. Indeed, that can and should be done regularly throughout the year—not just on New Year’s Eve. Let’s face it—the mere turning of the calendar is not always the right time for a deep look inside. And it may not be the time to start something new.
For some years, I was the Director of psychosocial services at Providence Regional Cancer Center. I had the opportunity to spend time with many adults, young and old, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Almost all of them recalibrated their lives as a result of their diagnosis. They reflected—who am I? What’s important to me? Am I living the life I want? How can I live more fully? Their brush with mortality woke them out of a slumber. They realized that their life was precious and could end sooner than they imagined. It shocked them into reflection.
I often thought—why wait for a serious health crisis to take stock. One could simply wake up one morning and consider how they are living their life. Buddhist’s meditate on the certainty of their death on a daily basis to make sure that they are not complacent. It reminds them that all we have is today—tomorrow is uncertain. So live today fully. Be the person you want to be now—don’t wait until next year.
What are some New Year’s lessons?
If there is something you want to do, do it.
Don’t put off what is important to you or what you aspire to do. Find a way of starting today—even if it’s simply putting together a plan for how you will make it happen.
Reflect on your life regularly.
When you notice that you might be stressed, anxious, down, or discouraged take a look within. What’s going on? What’s right about your life and what needs adjustment? Don’t wait too long for a deep dive within.
Keep goals simple and work on one thing at a time.
Better to be successful at one small goal than to fail at many. Focus on one thing that you would like to nurture in yourself and give yourself a long time to make progress.
Timing is everything.
Sometimes it’s the wrong time to make a change and it’s better to live with the status quo a bit longer. And then one morning, the sky is clear, and it seems like the perfect time to move forward on a new path.
And may 2019 be filled with joy, love, and wellbeing for you and your family.