Guest Author - Cynthia Parker
A brand new year, a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning…
And New Year’s Resolutions.
Not the topic that most of us wants to think about. I know that I hate New Year’s Resolutions for two reasons: 1) they saddle us with concepts of success and failure, and 2) I never manage to keep them.
How many of you have ever managed to keep a New Year’s Resolution? Please, don’t tell me, because then I will feel worse than I already do when I think about past year’s resolutions that weren’t kept.
The whole point of New Year’s Resolutions is that we reflect upon our recent mistakes and bad judgments so that we can come up with a plan not to make the same mistakes in the future and to improve our lives and ourselves. Instead, they become the whipping post where we lay our shame at our failure to attain goals set too high that probably weren’t even going to make that much difference in our lives anyway.
So, how can we make resolutions that we can attain and that will be beneficial? That takes reflection past our own ego-centric ideals and into what really matters in life – our relationships with family, spirit, and self.
[Note: In no way am I saying that resolutions to lose weight or exercise more in the effort to become a healthier you are selfish or shallow. In fact, these are goals that most of us should be seriously contemplating. However, a resolution will never be the answer in either of these cases. This takes serious dedication to a new lifestyle and an understanding that there will be a series of successes and failures along the way. In other words, not standard New Year’s Resolution material.]
So what is resolution worthy? What is a resolution? A resolution, simply put, is when one resolves to make a change. New Year’s resolutions should be goals that are attainable and that do not hold a guilt factor. (When one doesn’t reach a goal that has a guilt factor attached, it is much harder to make another attempt to make the goal, AND the risk of failure increases.) Resolve that you are going to set aside one evening a week that is strictly for family interaction. Most of us don’t do that now, but would enjoy that time greatly. Suppose you decide that Monday night is family night. If you miss a week because of work, or you have to change to Thursday one week because of band practice, these really aren’t failures. Not to mention that you have the very next week to “succeed” in making your goal. Bottom line: If you are able to increase the amount of quality time you spend with your children, you succeed. No guilt.
Resolve that your family will eat healthier in the New Year. If you add more fruits and vegetables, cut down on sugars, less fried foods, switch to low-fat alternatives, then you have accomplished your goal. So one night you have strawberry crepes for whipped cream for dinner or you take the family to the ice cream parlour for a high calorie, high fat treat? Big deal. The overall changes that are an improvement to your diets and set the groundwork for healthy eating habits in your children equal success!
Too many of us make New Year’s resolutions that we never keep. So this year, resolve to make ones that are fail-proof and success-ready! And have a wonderful New Year in 2004!