Thought For The Day:
“Character is being able to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.”
Question For The Day:
Will you keep this year’s resolutions?
Well, it’s the start of 2016!!! Hallelujah and thank you Jesus because there were times in 2015, even just last week (lol), that I didn’t think I would make it! Yet, just like God, He saw me through anyhow and I’m grateful. The awesome thing about New Year’s Day is that it presents an opportunity to hit the refresh button on our lives and be conscious about the fact that change is upon us. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day grind and forget that the days of our lives are ticking by. We blame hectic schedules for continued procrastination on our goals. We delay making changes that we know are in our best interest because, after all, who has the time? We’ll do it later, when things calm down, when the kids are out of school, or when we pay off that debt. Life has a way of making us forget that every second we wait is a second we’ll never get back. Sure the occasional rogue gray hair and the increased need for regular dosages of Tylenol would suggest that we are aging. Yet, there’s nothing like throwing away an entire calendar’s worth of appointments to remind you that the Earth has completed 365 whole rotations and time is indeed marching on. When it finally hits us that another year is in the can, it’s natural to reflect upon it and try to identify areas in which we have progressed as well as the ways we’ve remained stagnant. If after this assessment, we recognize more flounder than flourish, a valid question to ask is, what happened? Realizing that you’ve been stuck for twelve months has a way of making poor excuses a bit more obvious. Some harsh realities have hit me over the last few days as I reflect on 2015 because so much went undone. Was I really THAT busy? Surely, I could have found more time to relax and take care of myself. Heck, if I had spent as much time working on my writing as I did piddling around on social media, I might have been submitting a manuscript to publishers by now. The truth is, most of us can attest to the fact that we could have done more. Enter, the handy, dandy….New Year’s Resolution!
A solid New Year’s resolution can serve as a life raft over the seas of guilt and regret as we come to terms with last year’s shortcomings. They are our declarations to the world that we have recommitted ourselves to greatness (again). We’re ready to heed Oprah’s call to live our best life. We can almost feel Iyanla’s breath on our neck as she beckons us to “do the work, Beloved.” With the new year, we can finally get it right. There will be no more late night cookie dough binges or cigarette breaks at work. We’ll treat people better, renew our gym memberships, start reading the Bible again, and call those relatives we have all but written off. According to our elaborate Facebook posts, this is the time and this is the year! We want everybody to anticipate changes in us while giving ourselves a 365 day window to follow through. Sounds like a plan, right? However my question is this. Do we make all these lofty resolutions because we want people to think we’re changing or do we really, really, want to? I’ll wait……
I wonder sometimes myself as I look at the graveyard of New Year’s resolutions that I have personally left in the dust. Y’all can give me the side eye if you want to, but I know I’m not alone. What if all our “go get ’em” proclamations are just false promises we tell ourselves to feel less crappy about all that went unaccomplished last year? It’s easy to come up with fancy words this time of year, but the lack of follow through is kind of why my 2016 resolutions look pretty similar to 2012’s. Keeping it real, my New Year’s fire tends to fizzle sometime around the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. I’ve been trying to lose 50 pounds for ten years and finishing my novel for fifteen. Life always seems to get in my way or at least that’s what I tell myself. I really have been pondering why derailed resolutions continue to be an issue for me and this is what I have discovered.
I propose that part of the issue is in trying to cram an entire new perspective, outlook, lifestyle, and pinnacle life achievements into a 365 day package. By putting so much emphasis on the “new year,” a deadline is implied which means if I make the mistake of not completing everything on my checklist, I’ll have another reason to feel as if I’ve missed the mark and failed. A sense of failure can’t be good for my self-esteem so I doubt it’ll ever help me keep resolutions that require a pretty hefty dose of it. The more I fall short, the worse I feel about my competency, and the less likely I’ll be to ever make this “my year.” Anybody feel me? So, what if this year, I focus on my vision for the future rather than what I need to accomplish this year. Instead of emphasizing time-sensitive goals, I’ll try my best to live everyday in a manner that is in line with this vision I have for myself. By focusing on becoming more and more of who I ultimately want to be and weighing my daily choices accordingly, I move from making New Year’s resolutions to implementing a New Life’s resolution. The changes I need to make are ongoing and will need to remain in effect long after the close of 2016. I may no longer be in pursuit of change because change is inevitable whether I force it or not. As I start this new year, transformation is more what I desire. True transformation can never be limited to a year and will require consistent action steps, daily renewal of the mind, conscious decision making, and repetitive healthy behaviors from here on out. If you are like me and recognize that another New Year’s resolution may not be enough, here are some tips that might help us all move beyond the point of temporary change to the reality of permanent transformation.
Do away with deadlines – Some people work well under pressure, others can’t handle it and end up on medication. So instead of saying things like, I’ll lose 30 pounds by Valentine’s Day or I’ll pay off my bills by summer, make the decision to take positive steps in that direction daily without pinning yourself down to an ending. This means you’ll always have something to feel good about as long as you make a little progress each day. Daily progress will eventually get you to your destination. Even if you don’t get there today, you can rest assured that there’s always tomorrow.
Break down larger goals into bite-sized chunks– It can be quite overwhelming to list everything you hope to accomplish in a year’s time. You may want to get a promotion, buy a house, have a baby, travel, and start a business but the reality is, you may only have a couple of free hours each day to dedicate to anything apart from work and family responsibilities. There’s only so much time in a day and that’s okay! Today is all we have anyway so stressing over a whole year’s worth of obligations is pointless. Yes, there are bigger fish to fry, but if we try to focus on what can reasonably be accomplished today and commit to doing that, before long, we will have accomplished something great.
Stop saying what you’ll NEVER do again – First of all, you know you’re lying, so stop it. (lmbo) It’s never wise to run around boasting about what you’re not going to do anymore. If you have struggled with an issue you’re whole life, you know full well that you’re going to struggle with it in 2016 too. So renouncing all you bad habits as if you’ve discovered the magic potion is a set up for secrecy, shame, and fakeness that’s going to get you caught up eventually. Personally, I am not about to tell people I will never hit another donut shop on the way home or that I will NEVER make another excuse to not exercise. I probably will, but bad days don’t have to mean I’ve blown it. It just means that today I chose to indulge the wrong things and tomorrow I can make another choice. I’m therefore not a failure, but simply a work in progress. It’s a lot less pressure to strive for improvement as opposed to perfection.
I pray that 2016 be a pivotal year for myself and everyone reading. May we all have the courage to embrace the better life that is waiting for us right now. Let us utilize the measure of power and grace we are granted each day to its fullest potential, knowing that our new life’s resolution can begin today. Thank you to all of you for visiting Get Lifted Girl in 2015, its inaugural year. I appreciate you for reading and for the support. It’s only going to get better, so get ready. Happy New Year!
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”