Why I Don’t Make New Year Resolutions: The Research and Reasons
Welcome 2018! It’s the first day of this brand new baby year and I’m starting this year with no agenda, no over zealous plan to turn my life upside or a jumbo to-do list. I’m waking up to this new year with an open heart and open mind, patiently listening and waiting for ideas and inspiration to flow before I plan my life away. Here’s why.
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
Mary Oliver, “Evidence”
Have you ever heard of that? Beginning a new year without resolutions? Have you ever tried starting the new year without high expectations and the exorbitant price tag with goes with unreasonable expectations? I encourage you to try it. Here’s why.
Research shows that winter is actually the worst time of year to set new goals and make progress on projects and tasks, physiologically speaking. Contrary to the widely popular practice of New Year’s goals & resolutions announced every January, spring and summer are the best times of year to set goals and begin new projects.
You see, when the days are longer and the sun is brighter triggers a reponse in us. A call to action, if you will. Our brains get fired up! We naturally have more motivation because of the happy hormones released from all the sunlight. We are also usually more physically active this time of year which also causes a mood boosting response in our brains. All these feel-good hormones coursing through our bodies means this is prime time for us to put our thoughts and ideas into action and get started on making dreams come true.
Additionally, after expensive holiday vacations and buying thoughtful gifts for everyone on our nice list, we’re strapped for cash. Many of us actually start with new year with new debt, decreased savings and cash flow problems. If this is you and you’re like the millions of others who have blown the budget over the holidays, this is not the time of year to start a new gym membership, take out a loan for a new car or register your kids for every spring sport available. It’s actually more prudent to get caught up on the bills, pay down a credit card or two and boost your savings before you commit to expensive memberships, plans and agreements that come with fees and charges should you need to cancel down the road.
If you do set New Year’s goals, do so carefully and intentionally. Don’t be random and haphazard with your annual goals. Be intentional. We can take a cue here from the millennial generation and instead of writing down a lengthy to-do list, which only results in guilt and useless shame spiraling when we inevitably don’t get everything done, let’s set an intention for this new year. Focus on general areas where you feel you would like to improve or make changes. If you would like to lose weight, don’t focus on a specific number like 25 pounds, instead think about the daily choices you can make to improve your diet and fitness. For example, you might commit to cutting down on added sugar in your daily diet and increasing fruits and vegetables on your plate each meal. This type of goal prevents obsessiveness with a number on the scale and the ensuing shame spiral when the scale doesn’t reflect your efforts, and serves to incorporate healthy diet patterns over the long term. That’s a goal worth sticking with.
Be careful about what you commit to. It’s okay to be selective and eliminate what’s not attainable or feasible. Maybe traveling to Australia isn’t affordable in 2018, but getting scuba certified is. This way you can enjoy all the famous dive spots when you do go.
As I young girl I had to take horse riding lessons and learn horse handling skills for three years before my dad would buy me a horse. Three years! Don’t you know that feels like a lifetime when you’re a little kid? My point here? It’s okay to wait and work for the things you want. It’s okay to save, plan and prepare even if it takes several years. Trust me, it will be worth it!
Be thoughtful about what you want to change and improve in 2018 because you are ultimately responsible for these changes. It begins with you…
If you want better friends, be a better friend. If you desire more loving relationships, begin to be more loving to the people in your life. If you want to be understood, be more understanding of others. If you want to be treated more patiently, begin to be more patient to the people in your life. If you want to be forgiven, be more forgiving. As Ghandi beautifully explained, be the change you wish to see in the world. It begins with you.
Kendra McNair, http://bringblissback.blogspot.com/2016/10/blissinvictorychallengechangesus.html
Your head is a living forest full of song birds.
I’m starting this new year watching the sunrise on this early and cold morning with awe and wonder and a commitment to live this way. A commitment to notice, observe and wonder. A commitment to wonder. A commitment to live prayerfully, intentionally and full of wonder all year through. Happy New Year.
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