Resolve to Be Resolved
“The best resolution is the one you made yesterday, the next best is the one you start today.”
As the second month of 2021 begins, anyone who made New Year’s resolutions may be reflecting on a job well done, or kicking themselves for not following through on what they promised. The majority of people end up failing when it comes to their resolutions so it’s no surprise that gym attendance historically drops off just a few weeks after January 1st (Poon). At its core, a resolution is simply “a firm decision.” Being resolved to do something has never been a bad thing, it means someone is motivated and determined to take action. This kind of mentality sounds like the sort of thing people would want to have every day, so why do we restrict our resolution-making to the beginning of the year?
Making a New Year’s resolution is by no means a new tradition. The ancient Babylonians are thought to have been the first group of people to have made New Year’s resolutions (Pruitt). They made promises to their gods to repay any debts and return anything they had borrowed at the end of the year. If they failed, they fell out of the gods’ good graces. While our stakes may be a little bit lower, making New Year’s resolutions and then failing to complete them can lead to feelings of disappointment or failure. However, the problem with New Year’s resolutions does not lie in the act of resolving to make a change, but how that change is thought of. It can be easy to frame New Year’s resolutions in a negative light such as “I won’t eat junk food” or “I won’t let work get in the way of family.” Inevitably, you are going to think of, and then fixate on, the very thing you are trying to avoid. Instead, try framing a resolution as what you will do instead of the bad habit: “I’ll eat a serving of vegetables every day” and “I’ll sit down for dinner with my family every night.” This allows resolutions to have steps and actionable goals which will lead to feelings of success and eventually return results.
Resolutions do not simply belong to the New Year, they are made every day. Wake up and decide that you will eat 3 balanced meals TODAY. Tomorrow, reflect on how good you felt when you made that one day resolution. Was it worth it? What were the pros and cons? Is this something you can sustain for another day? By allowing ourselves to make resolutions every day, it means we don’t go past a point of no return. Every time your head leaves the pillow in the morning, it is another opportunity to drive towards your goals. This does not limit you to only setting goals you can accomplish in one day, it simply means you change the way you view your goals. If the goal is to “be healthier,” what are the steps you take every day and week to work towards that objective? Every time you accomplish one of those steps, that is a success. Soon, those steps have turned into solid, concrete progress as you walk away from bad habits and begin to form new ones. Your starting point in the morning will progress as you do. The bad day will always sneak in here or there, but the next day is new, so treat it like it is. What is a resolution you can make today and carry into tomorrow?
Pruitt, S. (2020, December 21). The History of New Year's Resolutions. Retrieved from
Poon, L. (2019, January 16). The Rise and Fall of New Year's Fitness Resolutions, in 5
Charts. Retrieved from
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