Four years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to make no more resolutions. It has been the only one I’ve ever kept. Unfortunately, I suspect many of you are not nearly as healthfully jaded as myself and, in your misplaced confidence, have already fallen into the trap of creating an overambitious vow. But don’t worry, I am ready to offer my helpful, if unsolicited, advice for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.
The truth of the matter is inspiration for change strikes suddenly, whether it is a conviction at church or finally realizing just where your GPA is. Simply thinking at 11:59 p.m. on December 31 that “maybe next year I should work out more” is not a life-changing moment. The second you feel a desire for change is the time to make that decision; you don’t need a fresh year to grow as a person. However, if you have repressed that nagging instinct to improve until now and felt motivated by a new calendar year, better late than never. Keeping one New Year’s resolution will be more of an improvement than if you had continued to ignore it. And, of course, if it is clear your original resolution is unattainable, you can always make emergency adjustments to it, especially after you read my next bit of brilliant advice.
But how do we keep these resolutions? As uninspiring as it may seem, a great way to start is to aim lower than extreme 180-degree, life-changing decisions. For example, after drinking the Regent water, a New Year’s resolution for an April wedding is less attainable than a resolution to actually talk to your crush. While resolving to run an ultra-marathon is a worthy goal, you might want to start with a 5K if the last time you ran was PE in elementary school. Being ambitious is good, but being honest with yourself is a key part of achieving any goal. General Carl Von Clausewitz said, “The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.” A small improvement put into practice is better than a life-changing goal that never happens.
Because I’m sure a few of you just ignored my advice on setting attainable goals, here are some tips that may help whether your New Year’s resolution is to drink more water or be the first person on Pluto. To start, make your goal personal. If you want to try eating more salad only because of a fashion magazine, that probably won’t last. However, if the salad is part of a weight loss strategy to help you live longer or because you have a pet chicken and suddenly feel guilty about eating meat, then keeping the resolution will mean something to you. A simple desire to “get ripped” is less likely to survive the effort than the knowledge that pumping iron will get you one step closer to that ring by spring.
Finally, make it fun! Have a gym night with the gang, or challenge your friends to see who can make the best-tasting vegan dishes. The Bible says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:12). So, find those people crazy enough to take the challenge with you or provide encouragement. Even if it ends in failure, like all of my past salad-related vows, it will still be a great team-building exercise and make a fun story. So, get out there and make memories!