Out with the old, in with new. How many different ways can society shove it down our throats every January? About a bajillion.
Between the news, social media and pretty much everyone around you, the first week of the new year is bombarded with the demand for change. Change your budget, change your wardrobe, change your hair, change your boyfriend and Heaven forbid if you are not planning on changing your diet! Those 10, 20 or 82 pounds are not going to lose themselves!
When it comes to listing your New Year resolutions, it seems like you are supposed to write down everything you love or enjoy and then solemnly swear not to touch, taste or use it ever again. In some respects this is a good thing. If you're ex-boyfriend is on that list then you should keep that oath. There is no time for life-suckers in 2014. But for the most part, I believe, that resolutions are just a set up for what is an almost guaranteed failure.
Don't get me wrong, everyone should have personal goals. Setting expectations for yourself is basically the only way to ensure you're not destined to be a beached whale on your mother's couch for the rest of your life. The issue I have with the goals that we set for ourselves for the New Year are that most of them are overwhelming or just plain unrealistic.
Go to your local gym in the first two weeks of January. Look around. I can almost guarantee you will see someone on the treadmill in brand new fancy gym clothes with the incline and speed on full blast, a Dave Ramsey finances book in front of them and Rosetta Stone espanol pounding through their headphones.
This person is my living proof that it is all just too much. I vote this person most likely to breakdown and find themselves alone in their car wolfing down a burrito and spilling ranchero sauce on their new gym threads. They said 'Gracias' at the drive-thru window and that is just the justification needed for the left arm they severed for the full priced language software. Ay, ay, ay.
Here's an idea: how about writing a list of the things you've achieved and things you've learned in the year that you are leaving behind.
You know, the things that the "old" you accomplished that you are in such a hurry to get rid of. Did you get a promotion? Find the strength to end an unhealthy relationship? Fall in love? Help out a friend in need? Get married? Have a baby? Whatever it is, the "old" you did that. So you might want to consider inviting that outdated person along for the ride into the New Year too.
There are probably some things that you would love to leave behind with the passing year as well. That's okay. In fact, it's good that you have those things. It means you put yourself out there in some way or faced a challenge. Even if it didn't turn out the way you had hoped for, this list of things you'd rather forget is the proof that you have the ability to persevere through tough times. It means you are human. And a brave one at that.
Nothing makes us want to watch ourselves cry in the mirror while eating a box of Oreos more than failing at something we really wanted. So why set ourselves up for that embarrassing moment? Instead of trying to tackle all 10 of your resolutions in 10 days, try and be what should be at the top of your to do list and practice patience. Greatness in any measure takes an even larger amount of time. It doesn't mean it can't be done but it does mean you have to be willing to put in the work it takes to do it.
There are a couple things you can do to help you reach your imaginary finish lines. First, narrow your list down. Pick the two or three that are most important to you. If one of the things on your list is 'travel the world' then you might want to put it on the back burner. Although, if traveling is what's most important to you, then try and narrow it down to where you'd like to go first. Then figure out what you are going to need to get there.
The answer to that question is usually money, so if 'create a budget' is also on your list then you might want to focus your energy on that resolution and incorporate a section for travel in there. By doing this, you will be less likely to emotionally beat the crap out of yourself when you are not meditating in India or backpacking through Europe in six months.
The bottom line is that you don't need to reinvent yourself every time the ball drops. Unlike what society would like us to believe, you are just fine the way you are. Those old legs you want to shape up so badly are the same ones that carry you through work & life each day.
Those old arms that you call "flabby" are the same ones that comforted and soothed a beautiful newborn grandchild, niece or nephew or one of you very own heaven-sent bundles. And that old heart is the same one that won over your partner, your husband or wife and every single friend you have. The old you is doing an alright job if you ask me.
The core of who you are is always going to be present in the way you live your life. However, who and what we surround our core being with and how we choose to shape it is in our control. So instead of counting down your list of flaws before the clock strikes midnight, try adding up your victories and measuring the love received and gave throughout that year.
I'd like to propose a toast & cheers to new adventures, new lessons, new health and new love for an old, but deserving, YOU!