Sunday, January 3, 2016

In defense of New Year's Resolutions

I know that lately all of the self-help gurus have been writing articles about how New Year's resolutions don't work, or how we're just setting ourselves up to fail, or how if we need to make change in our lives, we shouldn't wait for an arbitrary date. These may all be true to a degree, but I think that abandoning the concept of a New Year's resolution entirely robs us of a chance to check in with ourselves in a way that we don't necessarily do any other time.

Each holiday, in its own way, can get us to focus on a part of our life that we may just need a little tune-up on. Valentine's Day and wedding anniversaries get us to focus on our romantic life with our spouse. The Fourth of July and Veteran's Day get us to focus on what we can do for our country. Halloween gets us to think a little bit about our self-image, but usually it's a ridiculous fantasy self-image that doesn't have sugar issues. Sometimes we think about ourselves on our birthdays, but more often than not you're focusing on age and being older, and frankly you can't do anything about that one way or the other. Thanksgiving and Christmas get us to focus on our family and friends. New Year's Eve may tend to be about going out for beverages and fireworks, but as a result, New Year's Day presents us with an opportunity to evaluate ourselves that maybe we don't get the rest of the year (providing you're not too hung over.)

Those two weeks at the end of December are likely to be a blur - between parties and end-of-the-year recaps and Christmas and family and dinners and presents and making cookies and stuffing and vegetables and various sizes of poultry and what-the-heck-happened-to-my-living-room-and-how-did-I-get-glitter-there it's bound to be a little crazy. If you're in wholesale or working at a factory, work itself might be slow but everything else may not be. If you're in retail or the service industry, it's going to be non-stop for those two weeks at work, and probably still crazy at home too.

When do you get a break?

Sometime around New Year's Day.

Check in with yourself. Review what you've accomplished, look at what you want to accomplish, and make a plan or two.

Maybe you got a weight bench for Christmas, or that computer or window desk that you've always wanted and you're busy setting it up.

Figure out if your goal is to add ten pounds of muscle, or lose twenty pounds of fat, learn to code, mix some music, or just move some stuff around in your house so that you can more efficiently get the things done that you need or want to do.

Maybe you're looking over your end-of year figures or reviewing your projects.

Figure out if your goal is to pick up some new customers, work on some new strategies with the customers you have, or find some new products that you can implement with with all of your customers new and existing.

Figure out if you're doing the things for yourself that make you happy.

Now, once you've figured all of this out, don't be afraid to do it again.

(Maybe it won't take a year this time.)