Here we are, creeping up on a full week in January already and I have not yet made a single resolution for the new year. I’ve thought of plenty, mind you—lofty, idealistic goals stirred up by the bold declarations of those answering the call of self-improvement and good deeds. It’s a contagion, I tell you, one I do my best to ward off.
It’s sort of the same for me as Black Friday—everybody in a panic, crushing into the stores, snatching up bargains all in lather, sacrificing Christmas spirit to the idle worship of the solid gold beast that is consumerism. I like to wait until the fever pitch cools, the excitement dwindles and the competition all goes home. I’m good with paying a few dollars more to avoid the triathlon of jogging in place at 3-a.m. to keep warm while waiting for the store to open, sprinting through the aisles, and then playing tug of war over the last Samsung Galaxy SII 4G—which will be obsolete before I can wrap it and tuck it under the tree.
With resolutions it’s not as much a competition as it is joining in the fray, tossing your intentions into the ring to see whose lasts the longest. I’d rather sit back and watch the perennial, early contenders—exercise more, eat less, get in shape, lose weight—all going down for the count.
It’s never wise to be rash about these things. Setting goals is a careful consideration, best based in reality—the reality that the harder they are, the less likely you will succeed.
Well that’s just wonderful advice coming from a midlife mentor isn’t it? Harsh even. Here’s the thing, if you start out working toward what you want, instead of setting goals for what you should be doing, the chance of success is way better—and you might just get a bonus to boot.
I don’t want to give up sugar, chocolate, wine or delicious fatty foods like cheesecake and maple nut ice cream. But I do want to feel better, and feeling better means eating more whole fruits and vegetables, drinking two liters of water, and getting my butt out of the chair for a walk in the brisk air every day. When I do those things consistently I feel better—physically and emotionally. Success!
I also have fewer cravings, and when I do indulge in chocolate, cheesecake, ice cream, cookies, potato chips, French fries . . . some body stop me! When I do eat those taste-tempting treats, I’m satisfied with smaller portions because I’ve filled up on wholesome, fresh foods.
I also want to write more of what I want to write and less of what I think I need to write to get paid. If I write what I like to read and enough other people like to read it too, maybe there will be some money in it down the road. If nobody likes it but me I’ll still have enjoyed writing it.
I want to treat myself well—really well. I’ve done it for other people for most of my life, and I don’t regret it nor will I quit doing it, but I’m ready to stop denying my own special treatment of myself.
I want to worry less. I think that one is going to take some practice, or training in meditation, or maybe drugs. Whatever, it’s something I want so I think I can achieve it.
Finally, I would like to avoid selfish, negative, aggressive, ignorant people, but short of becoming a hermit (yes, I know that’s not a long walk for me), I don’t think I have much chance of success there. So I will say instead that I want to deflect the energy of selfishness, aggression and ignorance with my own super power cloaking shield.
Okay, that one might be a little unrealistic.