We are rolling along up to that date again. The date almost everyone pretends is not looming before us, now a few days away. The day the rubber meets the road. The day we can no longer limp along with crummy habits we want to get rid of.
Here is how it works for most of us. We waver back and forth on what we think we can do without, verses what we know we should change. We do not want to give up the things we know we should because they are satisfying. The things we can give up easily are things we embarrass ourselves telling others we are thinking of giving up for the new year.
When starting ‘Something’ involves some amount of physical effort, pain, or other discomfort. It too usually fails after a short run in the sun.
The sad fact is most of our New Years resolutions are forgotten either by convenience or neglect a few months down the road. We end up with another plate of guilt from yet another failure.
I believe the reason we go through this cycle of putting off resolutions, making resolutions, and letting our resolve slide into the late winter sunset is because they do not mean anything. Give up sweets, so what? Go to the gym to get in shape, so what?
After a few months negative reinforcement rears its ugly head, and we respond with positive re-enforcement which is going back to those things we pretended we were done with.
How about this year doing something different? Something that makes you happy and adds enrichment to your life? Do this: Make resolutions that are not self centered and self directed. Make resolutions that make a real difference, not some vague abstract accomplishment, but something concrete.
Make a resolution to do something over the next year for someone else. Who that person(s) is (or are) is completely up to you. What you can do to make a real difference in their life is also up to you. As long as you make a resolution and stick to it, it does not matter.
Here are some simple ideas that are also free. Over the next year, I am going to:
1. Open and hold doors for people just because I can.
2. Thank people meaning it, when they use good manners, or show an act of kindness for others.
3. Spend 10 minutes a week picking up litter on the street around my home.
4. Make or bake something for a neighbor, the one you like the least.
5. Everyday, look for something that needs doing that you can do for someone else.
6. Find something special or unique that someone is wearing and compliment them on it. Jewelry, perfume, hair style, and good taste in clothing, are things people enjoy being complimented on.
Moving on, if you have extra cash there are good ways to use it too.
1. Pick up the check for someone in a cafe or coffee shop who looks like times are tough for them. Talk to your waitress/waiter quietly and tell them you want to buy the meal for the him/her dressed in ____ . They do not have to know it was you.
2. Go through your home and collect worthwhile items you are not using and donate them to a thrift shop, or put them out on the curb.
3. Buy some flowers, and give them to a stranger who looks like they could use something nice in their day/life.
4. Send some money off in an envelope to someone you have never met at an address where you would not want to live. Include a note suggesting they can: Give or resend your money to another, add to your money and resend it, or use your money for their own use if they really need to.
5. Go buy some food you would like to eat and bring it to a homeless shelter. A few packages of cookies if there are children, toiletries you use yourself. New socks, underwear, etc. are all very appreciated.
6. Plant some flowers or a rose bush this spring in an empty space in your neighborhood where people walk, and take care of the flowers/bush over the summer.
I know, if you change your ho-hum New Year resolution(s) to resolutions along the lines I have suggested, your world will become a more vibrant, fun, and thankful place. You will start living in awareness and gratefulness, and you will be happier and more fulfilled than ever before.
Your life can be richer and have more meaning. You can make a New Years Resolution you will be proud of and easily keep. Or you can give up cookies and start exercising more. Which type of resolution sounds better? You might even make new friends, or land a better job along the way!