New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Resolutions. Two phrases, the former elicits exorbitant joy, the latter, paralyzing fear. Or is it the other way around? Why do we do that to ourselves? The resolution for the new year. Most of us can barely keep our day-to-day together and we think we can resolve to be this or that for an entire year? Talk about setting yourself up for failure.
Let me clarify that I am not a pessimist. I’m not even being my normal sarcastic self. As someone who has repeatedly made these resolutions and failed miserably at keeping them, I was plagued by finding the answer as to why we continue to make them. I think it’s the same reason we Americans do most of what we do: everyone else is talking about it and doing it, so I should, too.
It is healthy for us to want our lives to be better and to strive toward attaining that. If we don’t have goals for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, for what are we really living? The conundrum occurs when we can no longer tell the difference between goals and lip service.
I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year. I’m going to volunteer every weekend. I’m going to set money aside for charity from every pay check.
Those are all wonderful sentiments which appear to be beneficial to us and those around us. But, if we are announcing them for the sole purpose of lip service, to make us sound or feel self-sacrificing, we are being fraudulent not only to others but to ourselves.
If it is your goal to lose weight, why not decide to eat more healthfully and go for a walk after work once in awhile instead of burdening yourself up with an exact figure of losing 50 pounds. What happens if you can’t do it? You feel like a failure, which makes it exponentially more difficult to lose weight the next time you attempt it. Create a goal that is open-ended and achievable on a day-to-day basis. If you feel a need for outreach in your community, whether it be monetarily or by giving of your time, then make that your goal without saying “every week” or “every paycheck,” and do it when you can and feel the desire to do so.
When we become so specific in our resolutions that it chokes the life out of our aspiration (pun intended), it negates the desire all together. Better to have an open-ended goal that can be attainable only sometimes than to have a constrained goal that is attainable never.
With that, I will say that my goal for 2014 is to no longer fear love, in all of its forms and meanings, both giving and receiving. That is a huge undertaking for me, but one I am determined to surmount. And I can make the choice every day to tackle it or to try again tomorrow.
What will be your attainable goal for 2014… and beyond?