Happy New Year to all of you! It’s time to shed off the old and put on the new. The world did not end in 2012 (what part of “you will not know the hour” do we not get?) and it’s time to set our sights on the future. Time to make some goals, and then go out and buy everything we need to get organized/lose weight/eat better/stop those nasty habits. Right?
In our home we have a tradition at the dinner table called “Three Good Things”. At the meal, each of us shares a trio of positives from our day. Occasionally someone has had a rather difficult day and shares a low point and we rally around them to find the high points. I have heard of another version called “Peaks and Valleys”, a sharing and discussion of the highest and lowest of the day. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day we tweak this tradition a bit. As we play our games and eat our treats in the last hours of the year, we talk about all the best parts of the past year. The younger children are still high from the Christmas treats last week, so their high points usually center on gifts and games played with cousins. The older children and parents are a little less near-sighted, but I must admit I’m still pretty excited about the XBox Santa brought me…I mean us…for Christmas.
Around the dinner table on the first day of the year, as you may have already guessed, we share our hopes and dreams for the year to come. I’m looking forward to hearing what my son’s have to say. And all of the steps it will take to accomplish these goals. And the timeline. And who are they accountable to. Wait…you don’t do that too?
Really, we simply share our visions for the next year, but I am wondering this clear, cold morning, about the success rate for New Year’s Resolutions. Some quick hunt on Google turned up a site with interesting statistics, http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ . While the percentage of people never making resolutions surprised me (38%), the number next to “infrequent success” (49%)and “fail” (24%) was not unexpected. Mostly because those words hit close to home. I am a planner, a goal-setter, a schedule and calendar maker. Each year I sit with my journal for a couple of hours, mapping out my goals for the year…spiritual goals, health goals, career goals, etc. Often with timelines. Statements such as “By (this date) I will (do that)” line up neatly down the pages. Isn’t that we way we’re supposed to make goals? Shouldn’t I be really successful? I wish! I may be a great planner, no so great at being a “follow through-er”. There’s one resolution for 2013…follow through!
As we can see I’m not exactly an expert on resolution success, I have gone hunting for advise for this endeavor. Here are some I have found (and maybe a couple I made up):
1. Be realistic. I am not going to look like a supermodel, ever. I am only 5’3″.
2. Be simple and clear. Trying a complete overhaul of your life would be overwhelming. Vagueness will leave things open to interpretation. “I will lose weight this year” vs. “I will lose 20 pounds by next Christmas”.
3. Be positive! While teaching I learned to say things “positively”. It was said when you tell a child “don’t run” all they hear is “run!”. Really I believe it is simply a lack of something to replace the running with. So “cut out processed foods” may leave us hanging…and hungry, returning us back to that we wish to avoid. “Eat more whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts and fish” give us something to replace the “bad” food with.
4. Use the buddy system. It was good at summer camp, it’s good in resolutions. It’s not simply that it is easier to cheat on a resolution when no one else knows, it’s that we need cheerleaders! Find a friend who will check in and celebrate your successes.
5. Forgiveness…it’s not just for other people. We are human. We are not perfect. We are bound to slip every once in a while. Get up and dust yourself off, get back on that horse, and back into this Great Adventure!