A track record of failure
When I was younger, I had the same two New Year’s resolutions every year: to read the bible from cover to cover and to keep my room clean. I’ve read Genesis about 7 times and if it wasn’t for the fact that I share a room with someone, my husband, I’d probably still be kicking a path through my crumpled clothes to get to my bed.
Simply put, I failed every year.
And the data says…
My only solace is that many other people do too. Take a look at this Google chart. Google showed trends in health-related search terms from 2004 until early 2013. And what do we see here?
Year after year, the search peaks appear in January and wane off as the year continues. Keep in mind that these are only search terms, intentions don’t necessarily translate into action. But the search terms are an indicator of where our minds are at. After the glutfest of the holidays, many of us resolve to leave our old selves behind, some literally. As in actual pounds from our actual behinds.
We perk up at the thought of health and lifestyle at the beginning of the year, and end the year in a turkey/shortbread/egg nog induced coma. It’s a circle of lifestyle if you will.
But I don’t need a chart to tell me that, I know anecdotally that New Year’s resolutions don’t work.
So what’s the alternative? How do we actually change?
Onwards and upwards
Personally, I think the flaw is thinking that we can only decide to change in January and that if we fail, we give up until next year. What if we gave ourselves some grace and just accepted that if we failed, we could try again next week or better yet, tomorrow? Maybe it would take some pressure off and let us forgive ourselves for some false starts.
Secondly, I always need an accountability partner. Someone who will nudge, remind and nag me. To put it another way, I have cancelled many a gym appointment but I rarely miss practice if I have a team waiting for me.
In the end, I guess it doesn’t matter HOW we drop old bad habits or pick up better ones but that we try, and try every day. This way we won’t focus on our goals only at the beginning of the year but rather day to day, knowing that we’re better today than we were yesterday.
Regardless of what month it reads on the calendar.