I’d like to congratulate anyone who has made a resolution for 2017 and is keeping to it, because it isn’t easy. Many of us try to start afresh in January. We get excited by the idea of the ‘year for change’, the time for a ‘new me’. Although some people manage it, I suspect that the majority don’t. We set our standards too high and often give up at the first sign of resistance. Or failure.
This quick surrender, ‘Decide what you need to do, face a slight setback: give up’, isn’t acceptable in other areas of life. Yet it seems to be socially acceptable (and expected!) at the start of January. The concept of New Year’s resolutions has become popular; we think them up quickly and it is just as easy to shrug them off. If something is truly important to you then it deserves better than that.
As the years go by, I become more pragmatic about my resolutions. Yes, I do make them in the New Year, but they are always an extension of what I’m already doing. And, perhaps more importantly, an extension of the things that are important to me. They are part of a process.
I believe that big changes come about through the accumulation of small changes. The steps may be small and slow, but it’s amazing what can be achieved with persistence, even when there are blips along the way. Extreme, sudden changes can sometimes work (it’s wonderful when they do), but often they become unsustainable and leave us discouraged. As the cliché goes: life is a marathon, not a sprint.
So, don’t give up if you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution, because it isn’t the end. We’re blessed with new starts every year, every month, every week, every day, and every hour. Make resolutions when the time is right, whenever that may be, and don’t be put off if things don’t always go to plan. If we make our resolutions manageable and our goals specific, then we stand a much greater chance of success. Happy New February!