Queue the articles, essays, and blogs about New Year’s Resolutions. I get it. I cringe every time I see a headline that even suggests such an article because it’s always the same thing.
“How to Set New Year’s Resolutions that Work”
“Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work”
“Stop Making New Year’s Resolutions”
“My New Year’s Resolutions and Why They’re Different”
Now before you start worrying that last one is mine, I can assure you my resolutions aren’t at all that different. I have the usual goals this year: Get healthier. Write every day. Do some home improvement. Maintain my new website. Those may not be your New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ll bet yours are along the same lines, a mixture of physical, personal, and professional goals. So, my resolutions this year aren’t at all unique. “Unique” is not the secret to fulfilling resolutions.
My resolutions – or rather goals, as I prefer – will be successful if I put my energy into them, and if it’s not the right time to pursue a certain goal, I’ll know soon enough. I used to add “Learn French” to my resolutions, and I swear I did that for 10 years straight. “I’m going to learn French this year” I’d say, and I would start off with the latest program guaranteed to help me learn French with just 5 minutes a day. I think I’ve completed the first 5 levels of French Duolingo about three times, but that’s about as far as I get because I start letting “learn French” go first. When my other goals start demanding more attention, learning French is low in the list of priorities until eventually it disappears because I’m too far out of practice to be effective.
What I’ve learned is that’s OK. The only way a goal works is if you’re willing to make it happen no matter what you have to sacrifice. I’ve been willing to sacrifice learning French, and many other things over the years, in favor of the goals I really wanted to accomplish at the time. Many times that’s led to letting go of goals that weren’t good for me in the first place. For years, I had a specific weight goal as part of my New Year’s Resolutions. I actually made it a goal to step on a scale and see a specific number on it.
Seriously. That has probably been a goal of mine since I was in high school.
I don’t know what changed, but in the last couple of years I’ve decided to hell with that. It’s a ridiculous goal that means nothing. So my goal is always about being healthy rather than being a specific size, shape, or weight. Eat the right stuff, be active, don’t do anything stupid.
The New Year is a time to reflect on what our goals are, and whether they are helping or harming us. Setting a goal to satisfy some expectation of society that is impossible fulfill is not healthy, and it shuts down the development of those areas that we really do love and enjoy.
Put another way: This year, you do you. Your best you. To hell with what you’re supposed to do.
A word about the weather…
I would be remiss if my blog post this week didn’t somehow document the fact that half the United States is experiencing what will eventually be known as Spring when we enter another Ice Age as a result of climate change.
It’s cold. Really cold. The East Coast is getting battered as I write this, so complaining about having lows in the teens and highs in the 20s and 30s here in Arkansas is ludicrous. However, it is unusual to be this cold for this long in The Natural State. My Facebook feed has been filled with people experiencing busted pipes and other problems due to the extreme temps. Here at the farm, we’ve been running water non-stop to keep our pipes from freezing, since we’re still working on getting set up here.
Despite all that, I have loved this weather. Even as Joe and I worked outside one very frosty night last week to coldproof our new digs, my hands actually hurting from the cold, I was smiling beneath my scarf. I mean, I woke up the next morning, looked out the window, and said, “The pond is frozen!” in the way a kid might say, “Santa was here!” Poe, our 2-year-old rescue, and I took a walk around the frozen pond later this week, both of us marveling (in our own ways) at the phenomenon.
I’ve been missing seasons for quite a while. We lived in Texas for so long, and Texas has two seasons: Hot and Hell. (I realize this winter has been an exception, Texas friends.) During our travels, we pretty much experienced 50s – 80s the whole time. But now that I’m home…
And that’s it. I’m home, with my best friend and our place that’s going to take the rest of our lives together to get right. Where standing outside in 20-degree weather preparing our new home for the next week makes me grin like a kid.
Good luck, everyone, with this weather, and be kind.