Let me say right from the start that I make no judgement whatsoever about YOU making New Year resolutions. I’m just not going to do it this year.
Here is the short version of my refusal to participate in new year resolutions this year…keeping in mind that I rarely, if ever, stop any explanation with the short version. I NEVER succeed at keeping my New Year’s resolutions. 100% failure rate. And I’m getting too old to willfully engage in activities that I know are doomed for failure from the start. As the say in the 12 step program, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I get the appeal. I actually WANT to make several New Year’s resolutions. Exercise more, eat better, read good books, get my house organized, start my business, lose 10 pounds. 2015 will be the year that I finally GET IT ALL TOGETHER! I just need the perfect plan, the perfect diet, the perfect study, the perfect schedule….and oh my goodness, the PERFECT planner! I love new planners! Even though I keep most of my schedule on my phone and sync it with my computer, I so badly want to go buy a new planner. So full of possibilities!
Apparently, I’m not the only one who struggles. One article I read said that 150 million Americans make resolutions, but only 8% keep them. Exercise programs and gyms base their entire business plan on the fact that most of us will lose steam as January becomes February and February becomes March.
So what the heck is this about? WHY do we do it?
Jen Hatmaker is one of my very, very favorite writers and you should read EVERY single thing she writes. She wrote about this issue recently and I almost decided not to write what I’ve been thinking on this topic because she said it SO well that my words seem superfluous. You may notice that I got over that reluctance. Here is an excerpt from Jen’s post:
But New Year’s feeds into my dark side, and I feel the pressure toward AWESOMENESS. Maybe this year I will live up to the hype. Maybe this year I will be THE MOST AWESOME author and THE MOST AWESOME mom and the MOST AWESOME WIFE AND PASTOR-TYPE AND FRIEND AND SCHOOL VOLUNTEER AND CULTURAL ANALYST AND RACIAL RECONCILER AND TV GIRL AND BOOK PROMOTER AND BLOGGER AND PERSON OF INTEREST AND INSTAGRAMER!
I will be awesome at all of these things and it will be stunning and I will finally rid myself of this icky guilt I carry around all the live long day for being not awesome enough in the area of ______ (all things fit this blank at one point or another). It’s a simple formula really: just be very, very good at everything. Is that so hard?
Go read the whole thing. It is exactly the thing, isn’t it? Fill in the blanks…I will be THE MOST AWESOME mom, THE MOST AWESOME follower of Jesus, have THE MOST AWESOMELY healthy body, THE MOST AWESOMELY organized house, clean room, completed scrapbooks (don’t EVEN get me started…) business plan, career goal, beautiful garden, etc. etc. I will be a whole new AWESOME ME!
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and making plans and getting organized. We are designed to change and grow. I need to be intentional about eating healthier, getting enough exercise and sleep, completing projects around the house, working towards my career goals. When I get off track, it is a good thing to sit down and re-focus. I need to evaluate my habits and choose which ones to keep. I need to make my lists and organize my schedule and make choices about the best use of my time. BUT…
For me, New Year’s resolutions (or back to school resolutions….I tend to do this in September as well) have often been about the very thing that sets me up for failure. If I am really honest with myself, this compulsion to make resolutions IS ultimately about that sneaky, mean, bossy voice that says “you will NEVER be good enough until _____…”
And guess what? I am 50 years old and I am STILL not perfect, dammit! However, I am beginning to suspect that I am indeed “enough.” God says so and I believe Him…most of the time.
this year, actually TODAY, I am going to embrace my beautiful, messy, imperfect life and be grateful that I am alive and here to try again. I am going to get up each day and lean in to those things that bring connection and peace and joy. Most days, that will likely be spending time with God, eating good food, getting some exercise, writing and reading, taking care of my home and my people, and doing something kind to help somebody else and make my corner of the world a little bit better. Occasionally, I suspect, it will mean watching 5 episodes of New Girl in a row and eating a lot of chips. Or cheese. If I have queso in the house, perhaps chips AND cheese.
Abide in Me, He says. Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God. Grace for me, grace for you. Love my God, Love my neighbor. For me, that makes a lot of sense. One day at a time.
SO, how about you? What are your goals for 2015? What do you want THIS year to look like for you?