Resolutions: Helpful or BS?

A Day in the Life of a Wannabe Optimist

Resolutions. We make them at the beginning of every year, most to be left behind in the first two weeks of January and not re-examined until the following year. I almost made a point to go without resolutions this year but somehow the cliche of hope and optimism took me over.

New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach.)

Are we complete fools for letting quotes like this inspire and motivate us in such a commonplace, stereotypical moment for goal setting? Probably. However, what is the meaning of our existence without hope and the ability to turn our heads toward the possibility of positive change? Our existential crises are part of our human condition and the search for meaning can be cumbersome, but we have to allow the search to continue. The alternative is stagnation and facing a void which puts to death ambition, creativity, and the possibility for optimism.

Setting goals and resolutions is not stupid. Maybe posting them on your social media account in an attempt to gain praise or accountability from other people scrambling for happiness is stupid (read on for hypocrisy), but certainly not consciously making efforts to better yourself or your life.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” (Pablo Picasso)

Here are some real resolutions, some lax, some strict, made by some real people, friends of mine actually, male and female. These are their resolutions and this is their 4 day progress report. We’ll check back in for some honest updates throughout the next couple of months. In addition, there are a few quick tips below to assist us in sticking to our resolutions.

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May the force be with you, friends!

Here’s to the new year, the possibility for optimism, the strides for happiness and the journey itself.

Anonymous #1

Read more books, skip the TV.

Take the dog on more walks.

Eat healthy consistently, with only some “cheats”.

Get up at a decent hour.

Make more lists.

Spend more time with friends and family.

Practice mindfulness every day.

Practice yoga.

Make more schedules and be flexible, but stay on track.

Play harmonica.

Try out adult coloring books.

Day 4 Update:
“The only thing I have done on my resolutions list is ‘make more lists’. I am restructuring my resolutions to be more measurable (read a book a month, or read three nights a week). I’m still struggling to organize my life in order to start the goals and do it right. But the making lists thing is to clear my head and get it all written down in order to accomplish it. So the lists resolution is a good one for me”.

Anonymous #2

Be nicer to clients.

Lose weight.

Stop drinking in excess.

Stop drinking so much beer.

Stick to my budget.

Don’t forget to brush teeth at night!

Wash face every night/Better skincare regimen.

Order the salad over the sandwich!

Day 4 Update:
“Only day 2 in,  going GREAT, all good so far. I read on my lunch yesterday and before bed. Washed my face. Brushed my teeth at night. Ate salad. Said no to queso and oreos. Made another credit card payment, going to make another one tomorrow. Haven’t had a drink.”

Anonymous #3

Eat better, more fruits and vegetables, less meat and junk food.

Watch less TV, read more books.

Be a better partner.

Find more healthy activities to do on the weekends.

Do more yoga.

Drink more water.

Knock out some debt.

Drink less alcohol; when I do drink, do it in moderation.

Enjoy each moment, be more mindful.

Journal more.

Exercise.

Day 4 Update:
“Realistically, only on day 2. Packed healthy lunches and snacks for the week, read a book instead of watching TV last night, drinking water as we speak, making a big credit card payment today and planning on gym tonight, yoga tomorrow. Haven’t journaled yet. Eating yogurt and fruit right now for a snack and not loving it.”

Anonymous #4

Stop hitting the snooze button.

Give myself more time in the morning.

No soda/no sweets/no fast food.

Workout 5 days a week.

No alcohol.

Cut back on eating out.

Day 4 Update: 
“Only on day two, did all of my healthy grocery shopping, meal prepped for the week, started my workout regimen,  ate a healthy dinner, got up and took vitamins, had a healthy breakfast. Only snoozed once. :D..”

Anonymous #5

Do more things on my own without the kids. Be more social!

No buying fast food (minus Starbucks, sorry!)

Don’t spend so much money on food.

Wash my face every night.

Day 4 Update:
“I did actually wash my face last night, I haven’t bought fast food (minus Starbucks) and made plans with a friend to go to the movies.”

Tips for sticking with it!

1. Make your goals measurable. Anonymous #1 demonstrates this idea. Set some realistic measurements to go along with your goals. Examples- Drink (_) bottles of water a day, read 2 chapters of your book a day, do yoga 3 days a week..etc. This takes some of the pressure off and prevents us from being so vague in our goal setting and reaching. This sets definite guidelines and makes it more simple to reach.

2. Download the the ultimate goal app- Strides: Goal & Habit Tracker + Life Organizer.
This app allows you to set goals, track them and stay motivated about it. There is even a reminders feature which may come in very handy throughout your day. Click here to check it out.

3. DON’T OVERWHELM yourself. Keep it all realistic and attainable.

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