4 Reasons Resolutions Matter (even if you break them)
Well, I’m a little late jumping on the New Year’s Resolution blog post bandwagon (which is a very popular ride), but most of what I read is people bashing resolutions in one way or another and I wanted to add a different perspective. Even when people make resolutions on December 31 and break them by January 2, here are four reasons it’s worth the effort.
Resolutions force us to be honest with ourselves.
Most of us are masters of self-deception. We devise all kinds of excuses, er…reasons, for the things we don’t change. We have bad genetics, or we’re too busy, or we just have to push for a few more months at work. We will change, but not yet. A resolution is a declaration that something needs to change, now. Whether we follow through on that declaration with action is another issue entirely, but there is something substantial about actually naming changes that are needed and saying we need to do something about them.
Making a resolution implies we have some control over our actions.
We tend to be a culture that is grossly inept at taking responsibility. We are good at blaming everything except ourselves for our shortcomings. Yet, when we make a resolution, we are clearly stating we can do something to change ourselves or our lives. Any exercise in taking responsibility is a good thing, even if we don’t follow through with our actions.
Resolutions mean we’re not giving up.
Look, I’m not for failing to keep resolutions, but I’d rather be someone who keeps trying than someone who gives up. A resolution (which can be made anytime, not just at the beginning of the New Year) is a statement that we are going to try to improve ourselves, our lives, and our communities. When you make a decision to change in some way you are making a resolution even if you don’t use that language. The alternative to this is to give up and accept yourself and everything around you as it is, forever. The alternative is giving up.
Resolutions make us think about the stories our lives are telling.
In the midst of everyday life it is profoundly easy to lose any sense of greater purpose–eat breakfast, go to the office, file a report, eat your lunch, and on and on. But the seemingly mundane of everyday is working together to tell a story. When we make resolutions we are backing up from the details and looking at the big picture. We are imagining the story we’d like our lives to tell. This exercise gives us greater purpose, fulfillment, and hope for what can be. That is something worth doing on a regular basis.