Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Make New Year's Resolutions You'll Stick To

New Year's is different these days. 

I'm over 40.  I don't go buy a sexy new outfit.  I don't strut around wearing next to nothing in weather that makes penguins wish they had coats.  I don't pay $400 to go to some yuppie truckstop where epic battles are waged to get a drink.  

And I don't make New Year's resolutions.

I've had too many years where I swore that I was going to go on a diet, only to have, by January 4, downed a pint of Ben and Jerry's Lardass Swirl.  With my bare hands.

Then I started making more generous and affirmative, new-agey kind of resolutions.  Things like:

"I will accept my body's needs. I will view food as something to enjoy instead of something with which to plug the mouse holes in my emotional foundation.  I will enjoy food in moderation."

And then once again, by January 11, I had consumed enough cheddar bunnies to give a box to every man, woman and child in China. 

Clearly, my New Year's resolutions were broken.

So this year, none of that stuff for me.  Resolutions are not a do-over.  

Resolutions are are about making fundamental changes in your approach -- changes that will result in lasting benefit.  

Below are six examples of two approaches to resolution making, and the sad (and actually somewhat angry and self-destructive) outcome.    

Badass:  I will eat less, work out like it's my job, and have a body like Gisele/Halle Berry/Beyoncé.
New Agey:  I will view food as nourishment, while accepting my body for what it is.
F--k It:  I will treat my body like a temple, meaning I will feed it like it was big enough to have its own address.

Badass: I will get my children on a schedule and to be more respectful of their parents, our rules, and our home.
New Agey: I will stop comparing myself to those "together" moms with their organized lives and compliant children.  I'll accept our family's M.O.
F--k it:  Imma let shit get all Lord of the Flies up in here.

Badass: I'll finally turn my blog into a popular moneymaker.
New Agey: I'll stop the social media insanity and just enjoy writing. 
F--k It: I'm going to set every apple in the house on fire, including the kind I can eat, and then launch them out the window.  

Badass: I will dress fashionably, like I care about my appearance instead of like someone who got dressed out of the Goodwill bin.
New Agey: I must understand that my clothes do not define me.
F--k It: I'll let my broke-ass freak flag fly by rockin' some barrels and burlap sacks. 

Badass: I must make my house look like something straight out of an HGTV staging.
New Agey:  I have to realize that a house where there is life cycles through order and chaos.
F--k It:  I'm going for a kind of Fred Sanford meets Hoarders look in my home.  

Badass: I will be a master of time management.  The clock will be my bitch!!
New Agey: I resolve to leave more time to get places, knowing that some circumstances are outside my control.
F--k it: I'll never arrive on time anywhere again, excluding the toilet.   

Now, seriously.

I had to poke some fun at the whole resolution thing, because it is tempting to think of that new year as a blank slate, meaning that somehow we should be able to be restored to factory settings.  

Unfortunately humans have no such setting.  

We are the sum of our past, and yet we are capable of overcoming great setbacks and loss.  

The problem is imposing things on ourselves.  Kelly Lydick, in Elephant Journal, advises us against "I will" and "I should."  She advocates in favor of "statements such as “I love feeling great in all my clothes,” or “I love how it feels to take a brisk walk with smoke-free lungs."  In words like that, our subconscious hears positive, motivating acknowledgement.

The other stuff -- the badass resolutions -- ARE, in fact, an invitation to your rebellious subconscious to just say f--k it, and to jump headlong into that bag of chips like it was a pool on a hot day.  

Food for thought, right?

So let's set our intentions on things that make us genuinely happy.  Let's not shame ourselves with our resolutions.  

Let's know that this year, our best self is already here.

Happy 2014, Dear Readers!


  1. Happy New Year! I like the idea of saying to myself, I love the way...., rather than I should move my fat ass more. It is a bit more gentle! Thanks! Great post.

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy! And it does work. Unless of course you say, I love the way these chips taste after I eat my vat of ice cream.

  2. I am happy when I read your blog. You'll need to write more, so I can be happy more. Let's kick the shit out of 2014 and blow up some apples!

    1. Amy, best comment ever. BOA our new code for killing it!

  3. I f--king love you. And how did you know that Ben & Jerry's Lardass Swirl was my favorite ice cream?!?! Spooky!!


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