“I’m going to lose five pounds this year!”
“This is the year I’m going to quit smoking!”
“I’m going to get a better job this year!”
“This year, I’m going back to school and finishing my education!”
Every year, millions of people all around the world make these resolutions and many more; promises to better themselves or those around them and make the next year better than the previous one. The days leading up to New Year’s day are filled with hope and determination, lists and goals, and endless Facebook posts about how much better the New Year is going to be for them and everyone around them.
So why then, do so many of us fail at our resolutions not more than a couple of weeks or a month after setting them? How can we be so determined and resolute on improving our lives on December 31st, but when January 2nd rolls around, we are already hitting the snooze button on our alarm clock and missing that early workout class? Why is it so easy to give up on something before we even start it?
I remember making New Year’s resolutions as a child and feeling the same hope and the same determination to keep those resolutions that everyone else felt:
“I’m going to be a better daughter this year.”
“I’m going to refuse to turn to anorexia as a coping mechanism this year”
“I will feel beautiful this year and love who I see in the mirror.”
Lofty goals I know, but deep down I truly believed that once the clock hit midnight and the giant ball in Time Square dropped, I would suddenly be “cured” of all of my problems from the year before. I had made resolutions right? That meant that I would finally be the type of daughter my mother could love, I would never starve myself again, and I would look in the mirror and always see a beautiful girl smiling back at me. I would finally be the person I wanted to be and it would all begin to change for me the second the clock struck twelve because I had made resolutions and finally had the drive to make the changes I needed to in my life.
But no magic happened at 12:00, 12:01 or even at 7:00 the next morning. I still woke up to threats and bullying from my mother, I welcomed the grumble of hunger in my stomach, and I looked in the mirror at myself with disgust. There was such a disappointment that would wash over me when I realized it was a New Year and absolutely nothing had changed. I would toss my resolutions out the window and accept the fact that all I had to look forward to was another year of the same abuse, the same eating disorder, and the same poor body image.
I failed at my New Year’s resolutions and I believe that so many others fail at their resolutions because of the pressure we put on ourselves to succeed in such a short amount of time. I expected so much out of myself after the clock struck midnight; and when things didn’t change for me immediately; I felt defeated and just gave up. All of the hope and determination I had to succeed in the New Year would immediately deflate once I woke up the next day and realized that nothing had changed. If no one else was going to try, why should I?
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago, and instead, I began to make daily resolutions to myself. Instead of putting pressure on myself for an entire year, I began to make small goals for myself day after day. I only started to overcome anorexia when I would wake up and say, “Today I’m not going to starve myself.” If I failed that day, then I had tomorrow to try again. Each day was a new start and another opportunity to succeed. Making my goals daily instead of yearly kept me focused and motivated to try and try again if I failed.
You can achieve anything you set your mind to and you don’t need to wait until December 31st to do it. Every day is your new start and your chance at changing your life for the better.
Happy New Year….and Happy Tomorrow.