New Year’s Resolutions
by Cathy Massaro MSW, CCM, MPU Education SME
Who ever thought that making New Year’s resolutions was a good thing to do after surviving the holiday season starting with Thanksgiving in November? We have already had too much to drink, eaten even more, spent extensive time with people we rarely see all year round (there is always a reason) and maxed out our credit cards trying to meet other’s expectations. We are exhausted beyond belief and adding the obligation of a New Year’s resolution is complete overkill for many reasons.
First, making New Year’s resolutions implies we have imperfections. Rule of thumb: if you survived the in-laws vs out-laws Thanksgiving get together and then the Christmas shuffle between the in-laws and out-laws, you are already perfect. No one got hurt and more importantly, everyone is still on speaking terms.
However, others may take issue with that so for the sake of harmony, we should embrace the three top resolutions others make: to eat healthier, get more exercise and save money.
Eating healthier. Sounds easy enough but let’s take into consideration what is going on right now regarding the food supply. For example, romaine lettuce is no longer associated with a cool, fresh salad. Instead it conjures up thoughts of gastrointestinal symptoms. If we are going to experience such unpleasantness, I prefer the culprit be the indigestion of gigantic amounts of yummilious chocolates. The taste alone makes the stomach happy! So stick with the ones that are known to be safe and already in your kitchen. Chocolate.
Getting more exercise. This one is also deceivingly tough. It looks like all we have to do is walk to the mailbox and that would satisfy the requirement of getting more exercise especially if you don’t normally walk to your mailbox. However, the resolution has greater expectations. So for arguments sake, you join the community center with the sincere intention of utilizing their full size heated outdoor pool. Now depending on where you live, a pool heated to 82 degrees may not be a warm pool when combined with 30- 60 degree air temperature. Even Florida is cold in the winter time-at least to Floridians! Maybe come spring time.
Saving money. This is the BEST one. It does not say how to save money nor does it give an amount. If you buy a suit or outfit on sale and save 10.00 then you have met the intent of this resolution. If you go to the JC Penny’s after New Year’s sale and the receipt says you saved 52.86 then again, we honored the spirit of this resolution. If you don’t join a weight loss program or enter into a gym membership to achieve the other resolutions, then again, money has been saved!
Bottom line, it is time to be kinder and gentler to ourselves. Lower the overzealous expectations and work on that one area of your life that is really important to you. Not to the rest of us. Think it through and pick one something that is specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant.
Then set benchmarks to achieving the goal. Instead of saying you are going to eat better, perhaps it is better to say, only one cold fountain coke a week. Walk to the mailbox the long way around your neighborhood. Put 52.86 into a special savings account for a glamorous trip later in the year instead of into a store’s bank account. Modify your benchmarks as you reach them.
Tell others about your goals to establish accountability. However, please keep in mind that if they have not set the same goals, they may support you with their whole hearts but don’t want to hear about how tasty your romaine lettuce is while gobbling down the “all you can eat” pancakes at IHop with extra butter and syrup.
Life is hard even when everything is going smoothly and that is rare in itself. Relax, breathe in that moment and be nice to yourself. Recognize that you do a million things right all day every day and don’t dwell on the one thing you forgot. Smile, laugh and love with those around you and enjoy the moment you are.