In Not Published on January 1, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Well- here it is- ‘that’ time of the year again! New Year, New Me, New You- all of that crap. It seems no matter how many times I celebrate New Year’s Eve, I still get sucked in (at least a little bit) to the notion that I am going to make and keep resolutions on this one day of the year. I understand that it’s just a day, like any other and that there is really no significance to this particular day, other than the fact that we have collectively decided that the new year is a new beginning, so why not cash in on becoming ‘new’ ourselves? It’s as if we believe we can erase our faults and flaws and live a life that is somehow ‘better’, or more dimensional than the one we are currently piloting.

Enjoy it, Wilma! We're quitting on New Year's Day!

Enjoy it, Wilma! We’re quitting on New Year’s Day!

  1. New Year’s Eve is the mother of all Mondays, the Queen of ‘I’ll start doing X,Y, Z’ after the holidays, the Supreme Poo-Ba of our ‘better’ selves.. We spend the holiday season surrounded by lavish food and drink (some ‘extra permissions to indulge’ have been in effect since Thanksgiving -some 6 weeks ago!) If we’re lucky, we sometimes have stretches of vacation time as well, and the overall mood is that of celebration! Live It Up!’ And we often do. Which is fine-until we start running a ‘tab.’ As in: ‘I don’t usually eat, drink or do this- but it’s the holiday, so what the hell? You only live once!’ At that point, even reverting back to the pre-holiday diet, exercise and drinking habits, along with enough sleep and steady work schedules would be hard enough. (And let’s be honest: it doesn’t take that much to upset the apple-cart of health: a few cocktails here, a couple of chocolates there, even a tiny plate of ‘party’ food adds up over a series of days) Ironically,  this is the time of the year we decide: ‘I’m going on a full-throttle diet, I will quit drinking, and run five miles a day. Even though-perhaps- we have previously only run two or three miles, twice a week. Or even more likely: we’ve never run, not even once! We make it nearly impossible to follow through.
"Yeah! I'll just leave!!...peacefully...

My Bad Habit: “Yeah! I’ll just leave!!…peacefully..”.

Many of us have a plethora of bad habits, or things we think we want to change about ourselves. Kind of like trying to exorcise our ‘Inner Courtney Love’ (or whoever reps ‘chaos’-and FUN- to you) Most of us are far from being that out of control- we aren’t washing down Vicodin with bottles of Ketel Oneor puffing down a pack of cigarettes under the ‘No Smoking’ sign. We aren’t complete narcissistic nightmares- but our bad habits might be. The key to changing behavior might be in accepting that it’s a process- a long, arduous process to which there is a definite cause and effect. Sometimes you need to ease into new habits slowly and calmly-‘ like an old man into a warm bath’ to quote George Costanza. Realizing that if you have a nightcap after work each night, while taking your shoes off and settling on the couch- that you will miss that! If you are a night owl who suddenly plans on waking at 5:30 am to run around the block, don’t be surprised if you can’t maintain your resolution for three days. Because wherever you go- there you are! And you are who you are! 

I sometimes believe are all two people: the one we actually are, and that perfect, got it all together imaginary self, whose life runs parallel to ours in a perfect world. This is the ‘me’ that makes all of the best decisions, who makes the world a better place, and has a handle on being the best you can be. Rarely does this version of a person actually exist – but it’s a mirage many of us can’t stop seeing. And hoping to be when we grow up. 

Happy New Me?

Happy New Me?

One time (and only once!) I did make a resolution on New Year’s Eve that stuck. I quit smoking. I don’t know why it worked, but I do know that I had been reducing how much I smoked since the previous New Year. First, no cigarettes until noon, then until sundown, then one a day…all the way to zero starting January 1st. I think that by the time New Year’s Eve rolled a round I was ready. I had prepared- ‘trained’ if you will,  to quit nicotine. And I’ll admit it still feels pretty good to say I quit as the result of a resolution. But it didn’t really happen overnight. 

Rather than set ourselves up for failure, maybe this is the year to prepare for our next resolution? If it does ‘take’- it’s likely a result of preparation, not wishful thinking. The success is in the effort, and it may be best to start slow, and give yourself some time to reap the results. Overnight success is often anything but.

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