New Year’s resolutions are so fun to make and so difficult to keep.
The new year always seems like the perfect opportunity to start fresh, to open new chapters and face new challenges.
It is the most popular time of year to join a gym or start a diet, and retailers like Walmart follow their Christmas rush with increased sales of fitness gear.
The most popular resolutions center on getting fit and eating better. It seems cruel that the thing to do post-holiday feasting is start a new diet. Not that we shouldn’t all exercise and eat well, but there’s so much overenthusiasm in the fitness industry. Some of those online fitness influencers are almost cult-like. It’s easy to get sucked into a fad workout or diet, only to have the new routine fall apart by the end of the month. You start out SO intense, and then there’s no way to keep it up.
Fad diets are frightening (please don’t talk to me about juice cleanses). The really useful advice seems to come back to eat those healthy things—fruits, vegetables, food not battered and fried in oil. Cut out the sweet things—Christmas cookies, Route 44 sodas. Of course, it’s all easier said than done isn’t it? Or there wouldn’t be so many fad diets that promise quick, easy shortcuts with zany ideas and custom calorie counting systems. Who knew there were so many, many different ways to count a calorie?
According to Google, after fitness and weight loss, the most popular goals are get organized, learn a new skill, live your life to the fullest, save money, quit smoking and spend more time with friends and family.
Admirable goals each, but I am trying not to make any resolutions this year. I love setting goals and deadlines. Writing detailed lists to determine the steps to meet the deadline and accomplish the goal is fun. There is something deeply gratifying about picking out a path for yourself. It’s satisfying to decide what you want to do and envision how you will do it.
But perhaps it would be better to start the year with a bit of breathing room. Some calm. No deadlines (minus the weekly paper deadline, of course). No goals. No grand ambition.
Goals are a great way to plan what the next year will bring. But perhaps it would be nice, for once, to start the year without expectations, only openness to opportunity.