I have trouble every year with New Year’s Resolutions for two reason: the New Year’s part and the Resolution part. January 1 feels emotionally arbitrary. In my heart, Labor Day feels like the New Year, when school starts and the weather starts getting brisk, and I want to buy everyone a pencil box and a new pair of saddle shoes. And a resolution sounds like an edict with no flexibility. It’s so firm and final; an edict of behavior with no wiggle-room.
I’ve decided to instead use the word in its definition as the amount of detail held by an image. If I can visualize the change I want to have happen, the more detail I can imagine, the more ‘resolution.’ In that way I’m more likely to come up with a solid picture I can reference on what it is I want to change. So I made a resolution to make better resolutions and embrace the January 1 tradition.
I start my resolution in the bathtub. All good ideas begin in the tub and are executed in the garage, as far as I can tell. How many businesses have you heard of starting in the garage? How many bands? It seems a special place for making things happen. And the bathtub is just the best place ever. The bathroom is pretty much the only room where you’re guaranteed to feel better coming out than you did going in. If every room was like that, we’d be constantly happy.
In previous years, I’ve done the traditional “I’d like to lose ten pounds” or “I’m going to quit putting mayonnaise on everything” but I’ve given up on that, partly because it’s too easy to fail and it’s looking at the issues negatively. When I fail to reach the goal in an unreasonable week or two, I feel stupid and hopeless. Not how I want to start a new year.
Instead of stopping something or giving it up, I now phrase my resolutions in the positive. This year, I’m going to make healthier choices. That’s one I can do every day, and it doesn’t have to end. I can look at three things I might eat or do and pick the apple to eat or walk the dog instead of staring at my computer screen. Mission accomplished. And feeling like I’ve achieved something, I feel good and am much more likely to continue along the same path.
Finally, leadership is key! I get a few people on my side who have already made the change I want to make. I discover how they did it. I have them check in on me once in a while to see how I’m doing. Then it’s time to step up and be a leader. Once I’ve mastered the change, I find at least one person to teach it to. I never really know something until I’ve taught it to someone else. Next class starts in my garage in the spring!