I happen to be an activist. In fact, I get ecstatic about December, not because of the holiday spirit with its light shows, peppermint bark, love and good will, but because I get to map out my goals for the next year. There’s something about possibility, about recreating myself, about launching into a new project that bring on the warm fuzzies.
But what about the other side?
The biggest objection I’ve heard from Resolution Haters (couch cough, Grinches) is that resolutions sets them up for failure. After all, whoever keeps to that exercise plan after a few weeks (ahem, a few days)?
Let’s all admit it; New Year’s Resolutions can be as fleeting as that one time in fifth grade when I decided to become a vegetarian. As a ten-year old the thought of eating anything with big doe eyes made me sick. The night of my declaration, I went to a friend’s birthday sleepover and woke to the aroma of bacon. I didn’t even remember my new food convictions until my mom picked me up and caught me stuffing a third strip of bacon into my mouth. Needless to say, I decided right then and there I loved bacon more than I loved the animals sacrificed for my eating pleasure. Can I get a raise of hands for all those who agree?
Just for fun, I took a poll of our therapists at CCC to find out which side of the resolution divide they landed on and why. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
I prefer to try to follow a new character trait for the year instead of specific goals. If I follow the character trait then it’s likely the goals I would have made will end up coming to fruition. For example, one year I worked on “authenticity”. Which meant saying no when I didn’t want to do something. Or saying, “I forgive you” instead of “that’s okay” when it wasn’t. Every year, I have a different character challenge: boundaries, courage, saying yes more, initiating, etc.
I used to set New Year’s resolutions, but I seldom kept them. Now, instead of resolutions, I set goals for myself and Chico Creek Counseling throughout the year as needed.
Every year I set my intention for the year. This year my intention is to make physical well-being my number one priority.
As a family, we have used New Year’s resolutions to keep us focused on an idea or common goal as a unit. Like most resolutions, by spring they have long been forgotten. This year my wife, Felicia, and I are revisiting goals/resolutions, and have realized in our busy lives we can lose sight of our priorities. At the end of this year we admit that we have not grown individually, as a couple, or as a family like we had planned. We want growth and goals will hold us accountable for it.
Since everyone redefined resolutions it’s hard to nail down a true tally of who votes “Yay” and who votes “Nay”. But honestly, what’s the point? Taking polls and talking about New Year’s Resolutions might be entertaining, but in the long run, why do they matter in the crazy business of our lives, beyond fun dinner conversation?
What if we called New Year’s Resolutions something else entirely? What if we called them goal-setting? I dug around and found an Oxford study that stated “higher goals lead to higher performance …” Assuming we all want to better our lives in significant ways, goal-setting is essential. Next week, I’ll dig deeper into the meat of goal-setting and share practical, easy, and proven methods that we here at Chico Creek Counseling have used to start working towards our better selves.
In the meantime, tell us which side of the New Year’s Resolution Divide you fall on. And just for fun, if you’re a resolution junkie, reveal you top New Year’s Resolution for 2018.
Meet Rachelle DeNecochea, Chico Creek Counseling’s new blogger. Rachelle worked as office manager for Chico Creek Counseling, but now spends most of her time writing fantasy novels for teens and blogging about bravery, risk-taking, and living fully. She has an undergraduate degree in behavioral science and a master’s degree in business. She lives in Chico, CA with her superhero husband and two almost grown minions. If you’d like to connect, follow her personal blog or send a message through her Acts of Bravery Facebook page. She’d love to chat with you.