Anyone who sets foot in a store that sells women's clothing around this time of year can tell instantly that 'tis the season for New Year's resolutions. I was confronted with this phenomenon the last time I went in TJ Maxx and found that an influx of exercise clothing and gear had been moved to the front and center, poised to capitalize on a month that so many view as a time for new beginnings. As I perused the aisles of stylish sports bras and patterned leggings, I wondered what my resolutions should be for 2017.
But for that matter, what had my resolutions been for 2016? I no longer remembered nor cared. I certainly couldn't tell you whether I'd been successful with them or not. A long year now stretches between the last January 1st and this one, and so much has happened in that expanse of time - both in the world around me and in my own life, both exceptionally good and exceptionally bad - that I'm hardly quite the same person I was then. More skeptical, more self-sufficient, certainly stronger. I've learned a lot about being a friend. I've made strides towards the kind of future I want. Am I better than I was then? Am I happier? It's hard to say.
As I thought about it, I resolved not to make any resolutions this year for one simple reason: a year is a long time. We're never even promised another day, so what good does it do to decide that I'm going to be a better version of myself a year from now? All we really have is the moment we're in, and all we can do is make the best decision in this moment to constantly keep building those better versions of ourselves. A year is too big of a building block to work with.
Instead, why not treat each day, each week, or each month as a new beginning? Why not wake up every morning and make a resolution, whether big or small, just for the 24 hours ahead of you? Maybe you didn't quite meet your goal yesterday, but today you have another shot at it. It's a lot easier not to fall off the wagon if you keep things realistic and at the micro level, and you're more likely to stay motivated and not beat yourself up. Instead of saying, "I'm going to work out more this year," say, "I'm going to work out today." Then give yourself a pat on the back if you do, or try again tomorrow if you don't.
Whatever your personal goals are, maybe we should stop looking at them as something to be attained sometime so far in the future. Maybe we should just work towards them day by day and resolve to be the best we can from moment to moment. And, above all else, maybe we should resolve to be kind to ourselves and to others; that's where making the world a better place starts.
But with all that said... Happy New Year!
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