How To Repair Your Broken New Year’s Resolutions
It’s been three weeks since so many of us crawled slowly out of bed on New Year’s Day, and made lists of things to accomplish in 2013. Powered by ruthless ambition, some people pledged their desire to achieve their long-neglected overthrow of the established world order. More often, however, people were motivated by the strong drive to fit into those tauntingly tiny pants in the back of the closet, and thus made New Year’s Resolutions about exercising, losing weight, and/or finding their biceps.
At the start of the year many swore that they’d be spending 2013 by sweating at a spinning class, eating nothing but undressed vegetables and forswearing all alcoholic beverages not consumed during Mass. Yet despite these valiant efforts, many of those brave New Years Resolutions have been “broken” –shattered like a vintage teacup– with the smashed portions disposed of as discreetly as possible.
Yet, the problem isn’t with you for breaking your New Year’s Resolutions — it’s with the whole nonsense of “resolutions.” Resolutions are brittle, persnickety little things. Once broken, you never hear of anyone putting them back together again. It’s all over until the next set of New Year’s Resolutions!
And if you are anything like me, your New Year’s Resolutions were made while you were still a touch hung over from New Year’s Eve. Honestly, it’s really a terrible time to try and start anything!
Another reason keeping one’s New Year’s Resolutions can be difficult because so many of the resolutions we make are awfully punitive. So many of us go from a schedule of multiple holiday shindigs with open bars and free flowing-fudge straight to a diet of bunny chow and endless running on a moving road that gets you nowhere. As January winds on, gym memberships go unused, clothing piles up on the exercise bike and uneaten vegetables wither in iceboxes across the globe. But this typical turn of events needn’t be this way. At least not for you.
and reflect the sort of fear that nothing will be right in the world unless you punish yourself for your past eggnog-ish sins.
Consider that unless you have a very different constitution than most, your body does not want to go from a steady diet of queso, Netflix and homemade rum balls to working out twice a day on a vegan diet. Instead, it’s time to return those multiple broken resolutions to the resolution factory and exchange them for a different way to approach your life. That means you needn’t focus on doubling up of your daily dose of Bikram Yoga while enduring a juice cleanse; it’s much better to realize that January is a fine time to declare one strong intention of the way you would like to live for the rest of the year. It’s about declaring an intention to being the very best you that you can be.
The best part about intentions: they are soft and squishy and flexible and can be custom tailored to fit your life. Unlike resolutions, they can’t be shattered like an iPhone screen. For example, if the dearest-to-your-heart resolution this past New Year’s Day was to lose weight, you might be better off if you repurpose it as an intention to take better care of yourself.
Instead of punishing yourself, have a nice chat with your body. Start off by looking at your naked self in the mirror. Thank your body for all it does for you. Tell your body that you are going to do a much better job of taking care of it this year. In return, explain that it, in turn, is expected to take good care of you. Check in with your body. Would it like to have more yoga? Would it like to have more water? Is it getting enough roughage? Would it like to go for a nice swim? Is it still pissed at you for having all those dollar shots during free week?
The important thing here is easing up on your expectation of a miraculous physical transformation by the end of January and not blaming yourself for not keeping those nasty “New Year’s Resolutions.” Those things are dangerous and ugly, and reflect the sort of fear that nothing will be right in the world unless you punish yourself for your past eggnog-ish sins.
Of course, if you are doing all the things you need to do to make yourself healthy but are far away from the modern ideal of “skinniness,” another option is to abandon the ideal. If you are “thick” and healthy, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sir Mix A Lot and the gazillion fans of “Thick Girls are Dope” have no desire to part you from your daily cheese danish meditation.
It’s all about doing what’s best for you.