No more resolutions

The VIEW from here



Yeah, it’s that time of year again. The New Year’s column. The first column of the year, which many of us writers use to pitch an all-too-familiar “New Year’s resolution” theme.

If you’re like me, you’re probably not all that interested in reading about someone else’s wishful list of resolutions or following a motivational piece on why you should lose weight, quit smoking, get out more or treat people better.

Fortunately, I’m not going to encourage anyone to do any of the above goals in this piece, although all of those are noble pursuits. And I’m not going to share any resolutions of my own, which have usually resulted in well-intentioned yet wildly unsuccessful attempts to better myself by the end of the New Year anyway. Instead, I’ll touch briefly on why I think New Year’s resolutions don’t always work and what we can do to make real, lasting changes in our lives.

I’m sure that most of us have written out a list of New Year’s resolutions at one time or another, or we’ve compiled one in our minds. It’s not a bad idea, and it works for some people. If you’re the person who succeeds by writing out a list of goals and following them through, that’s great. By all means, continue.

But for many people, the concept of filling out resolutions alone just isn’t enough. So often we try to set our New Year’s goals, only to fall back into old habits and patterns by mid-February. If we even have the fortitude to last that long.

Part of the problem is that we strive to follow too many resolutions at once and get overwhelmed, especially when we miss the mark on the “big ones.” Some people even lose hope and feel jaded about the entire year if they don’t meet the goals on their list. Another issue is that people want to experience the good outcomes of attaining a goal, such as losing weight or ending a bad habit, but they haven’t made the commitment in their hearts to exercise more or adjust a certain behavior. In other words, they want the results, but they’re not prepared or willing to handle the challenges that come with attaining a major goal.

It’s one thing to set a resolution, but we also must change our mindsets if we want to accomplish it. For instance, if your goal is to read more books in the New Year (real books, not e-books on Amazon Kindle), then you have to adjust some of your entertainment habits—like setting aside time to read rather than surfing the internet or watching TV.

Of course, aside from acquiring the books themselves, you have to visualize yourself as a reader and develop a passion for the benefits of reading (to become more informed, use your imagination, etc.)

Perhaps most of us shouldn’t fill out a list of resolutions. We just need to live one day at a time or tackle one goal at a time, instead of trying to fix all our hang-ups or pursue all our dreams in one fell swoop. Change doesn’t come just from making a resolution; it happens when you start a revolution from within.

Ben Gagnon is a reporter with View Newspaper Group and the Genesee County View. You can contact him at