We are all bonded by one thing each New Year —- The
ill-fated New Year’s Resolution. Undivided by race, religion, or politics, the New Year’s Resolution is unlike the forty days before Easter known as Lent, where Catholics give up a desired food/drink item or behavior for five of those days but with the honest intent to make it the entire forty, nor is it akin to the fast taken on during daylight hours among Muslims observing the month of Ramadan. These practices are confined to select groups of people who share similar cultural or religious beliefs. The New Year, on the other hand, is universal. Indeed, all mankind will observe the passing of the old year, and even those who fall asleep before midnight will undoubtedly wake to the subsequent year.
And it is likewise universal that nobody rings in the New Year with the sentiment that perfection was achieved in the old year; typically one recalls what was deficient in that past year and resolves to change it in the New Year; whether it be eating less, exercising more, quitting smoking, being kinder to others, eating more raw yak, crickets, and ostrich sandwiches, or creating loose ends for others to have to tie up.
The problem, if you will, with these resolutions is that they all require willpower. Willpower (n): The power I will one day have to successfully fulfill a resolution, but don’t currently appear to have (ref. The Dictionary of Troi). And when our willpower fails us, we often feel guilt and/or shame at having failed ourselves.
Who wants to begin a perfectly promising New Year anticipating guilt and shame? Well, Readers, you can resolve to feel guilty and ashamed no more, by following my easy steps for New Year’s Resolution success!
Step 1: Make Realistic Resolutions. Eating less can be troublesome for those of us who are very hungry, but eating less between the hours of 1:20 – 1:27am each day feels very attainable. I am usually asleep during these hours, which decreases my likelihood of snacking and therefore increases my likelihood of success! Take another example. Being kinder to others in general can be challenging, but being kinder to the people we already like is really quite easy! You’ll find that you rarely have an urge to be unpleasant to the people you like the most, and you can continue to berate and belittle the people you don’t much care for while still achieving your resolution.
Step 2: Make Resolutions Vague. Never quantify resolutions. For example, don’t say, “I’ll go to the gym twice a week this year,” but instead say, “I’ll plan on heading to the gym this year.” Chances are, you’ll end up driving past the gym at least once by default, thereby successfully satisfying your resolution.
Step 3: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again, For Up to 365 Days. Technically, the new year lasts for a whole year, so even if you fail to eat vegetables for the first 364 days, you can still eat a carrot stick on the following New Years Eve and meet your goal of “eating more vegetables this year.”
Step 4: Compare yourselves to bigger failures. If you follow Steps 1–3 and you still find that you don’t meet your resolution, just find somebody who failed on an even larger scale. I like to laugh at this guy who resolved to lose thirty pounds in the New Year but fell off of his exercise bike the first day and fractured his leg, leading him to gain weight.
Readers, I hope this helps you on your way to achieving your New Years Resolutions. You can do it! (But if you can’t, follow steps 1-4.)
Disclaimer: Troi does not presume to believe anything she writes, nor write anything she believes. She does not endorse the 4-step resolution program. She encourages you to read her blog, and please subscribe, but discourages you from following her advice. She also wishes you a Happy New Year blessed with joy and love and kindness.