Just a few days into the new year and already I am contemplating my love/hate relationship with the New Year’s resolution. I almost joined the growing group of people that are bucking the tradition of a resolution and opting instead to just hope for the best. But I’m not a “hope for the best” kind of person. I’m more of a “grab the bull by the horns and don’t let go no matter what, shake the bull to death if you have to” kind of person. And if you have ever made (and broke) the same resolution year after year, then you are that kind of person too. I’m going to let you in on a secret…it’s okay.
It is one hundred and ten percent okay to beat that resolution to death until it stops beating you. I made the same resolution to quit smoking for over 10 years in a row before it actually stuck. It beat me year after year after year. I’d decide to never smoke a cigarette again and 2 hours later I was negotiating the terms of my defeat with those little cancer sticks. Then there was the year I grabbed that bull for the last time and I shook him to death and I won. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve been free of that nasty habit. It’s probably for that very reason I still make resolutions.
You see, every breath on this earth offers us another opportunity to make a change, do something different and be better. With every moment, we get another chance. It just so happens that our calendar helps us define specific moments to make new decisions. We get a new day with each sunrise, a new week every Sunday, a new month every 30 days or so. And every 365 days we get a new year. A new chance to start over or start again.
It’s a good thing that we get these chances because humans have an amazing capacity to make mistakes. We can mess some stuff up. We can also just get lazy or bored or too busy. Sometimes just surviving, just trying to make it through is all we can do. Sometimes in the surviving we forget our vision for the future, we forget our goals and we forget to dream. But then something wonderful happens…we get another moment or a new day or a new year and we can try all over again. We can take a breath and start anew.
Which brings me back to my contemplation. There is this whole “one word resolution” movement that’s been happening for a few years now. I have several friends that do it. The premise is that instead of a long list of resolutions you pick just one word to focus on. Just one word that sums up what you want to look like or have or be at the end of the year. So, this year I chose a word.
My word is “better”. And I’ve already messed it up. Okay well, I sort of messed it up. At first I chose the word better so that I could focus on being better at everything. I could be a better mom, better wife, better cook, better bus driver, better friend, have a better body….and the list goes on. Of course, on day one (January 1st) I didn’t cook, yelled at one of my kids, didn’t talk to a single friend and ate horribly. So there’s that.
Then came a moment of clarity. I really just need to focus on being better than I was, not perfect. Just better than last year or last time or yesterday or even better than an hour ago. And isn’t that what every resolution is about anyway? There is no need for me to hit the gym twice a day and throw out all the sugar. Honestly if I just say “no” even one time to an offer of cake then I already did better than last year. Last year I didn’t turn down cake at all. If I call my friends just once more than normal, I’m doing better. If I kiss my husband just one time more or hug my child while I am yelling then I’m doing better (just kidding on the yelling part, please don’t send me nasty messages).
So, here’s to less cake and sugar and more hugs and kisses. Here’s to the upgrade, the improvement, and progressing. May we all continue to surpass, be more excellent and more effective. May we recover, advance, amend, refine, enrich, eclipse, outdo, uplift and exceed. And if last year was rough for you and even if it was outstanding for you, may this year be better! Happy New Year my friends!