Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Celebrity Death Match 2012: Resolutions vs. Goals

I love Christmas. I suppose its because I have a lot of great memories from when I was a kid. But I dislike New Year's. This year, I down-right despised it. In fairness, this may have had more to do with the fact that instead of skiing or climbing over the holiday, my husband and I moved our entire apartment. I hate moving. I always end up infuriated with myself for having too much stuff. Maybe that will be another blog post.

But I digress. Why do I hate New Year's? Because if making a change or a shift in your life is so important, why wait to do it? Start now, whatever day that happens to be. A few days after bemoaning this point on my Facebook page, Kelly Cordes made the same point, except his was way cooler because you just can't top a mullet.

Case in point. Between the holidays and not having a serviceable stove for about week, my previously squeaky clean diet has gotten a little out of hand. I actually patronized a fast food restaurant today. Eww. How did it get that bad? I gave myself license to wait till January 1. With the deadline fast approaching, I often found my brain saying, "hurry up and eat this piece of crap before you go back on your diet." And now here it is January 4. I'm carrying around 5 extra pounds and I'm cranky & irritable. That's classic addiction, folks. All because I got suckered into the "New Year's Resolution" B.S.

So I resolved not to resolve. The definition of resolve is "to come to a definite or earnest decision about." A definite decision about. The very word implies a permanence, a lack of backsliding. The problem with this of course, is that when we "resolve" to do something, and then fail to adhere to said resolution, our human nature is to just give the whole thing up. How many people do you know who resolve to go on a diet January 1, slip and eat one donut and instantly go back to their old ways of eating? Exactly. 

Of course, this has a lot to do with how we go about resolutions in the first place. The majority of the time we resolve to not do something. No more smoking. No more fridge raids in the middle of the night. No more carbs. I think anyone who understands human nature would agree that we are more likely to follow through on positive goals we set instead of resolving to no longer engage in negative behaviors and habits we would like to change. 

So I've been toying with the idea of "setting goals" instead of "new year's resolutions"- maintaining focus instead on fun things I want to accomplish that will add to my overall quality of life. I know the timing is rather auspicious, after all its only 4 days into the new year and this all sounds a lot like these pesky resolutions I keep railing against. But with the move to the new apartment, it reminded of this article I recently read on I encourage you to read the whole thing, but the long & short of it is that Vietnam soldiers who stayed in Vietnam while they dried out from their heroin addiction did better staying cleaning stateside then vets who came home to get clean.  Why? Environment. Many of our habits are subconsciously tied to environmental cues. You have a better chance of changing the behavior if you also change the environment/routine surrounding them. New apartment = new routine, so why not be intentional about creating a routine and environment that really works for me?

The deal was sealed though after reading this inspirational article from Erica Lineberry over at Cragmama. Just a humble list of her goals for the 2011 season with an intimate report on whether or not she achieve them this season. What I loved most about her list was her response to the goals she didn't achieve this season: "no biggie." That's the beauty of positive goals: even if you don't achieve them, you're still better off for having tried. Whereas if you resolve to stop doing something, and then you fail and do it again, where has that left you? Feeling like a failure. No beuno. 

So what are my 2012 goals? Well that's another blog post. :-) 

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