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A hopeful New Year
of resolve and change

Small triumphs are the first significant steps towards accomplishing those resolutions

By Marylin Smith Carsley

I promise… that this year for sure… without any excuses, I shall do it, and succeed!

These words of sincerity frequently declared on New Year’s Eve, rarely come to fruition even with committed intentions.

With yearly optimism, many desperately hope for personal life improvements and New Year’s Eve has always been ideal for thoughts of reinvention to come alive. Shedding those extra-accumulated pounds, frequenting the gym with enthusiastic energy, managing debts and ultimately living towards a renewed direction are the most common wishful hopes. Determination can be a powerful guiding force towards achievement, but a person requires more than just that. Unfortunately many optimistic words have been uttered before but have been silenced to oblivion due to unremitting failure. The sincerity may exist but activating the plan and staying on course are quite rare.

Those resolution intentions typically spiral downwards after a few weeks in January even though they always seem headed for triumph. But that well-thought out plan could dissipate after only three weeks never quite making it to February. Those New Year’s Resolutions are frequently impossible to follow and surrendering back to those old ways prevail year after year. So why do we continually make them and believe in their power?

‘Those New Year’s Resolutions are frequently impossible to follow and surrendering back to those old ways prevail year after year.’

A New Year seems to promote renewal and the month of January grants this tremendous surge of positivity and endless possibilities. It creates that renewed prospect to reboot and remedy those personal faults that require modification. This time demonstrates that hope for personal improvement even after years of not achieving those promises. With all this in mind, there is something so uplifting in knowing you can always try, and defeat never illuminates the end. A New Year is always a special time that opens up new chances.

Resolution failure can cast a depressing gloominess as altering a behaviour is not so simple. Uttering a few words that you can and then waiting for triumph is not how it usually flows. It is more about instituting an entire way of thinking and reorganizing your brain to act contrarily after so many years of acting one specific way. In addition the goals set must prove to be realistically attainable. There should also be that acknowledgement that changing your bad habits will not necessarily better your complete life especially after a habitual pattern. Change is deeper than superficial desires as a person’s lifestyle is ingrained and it takes more than losing a few pounds to be a new individual.

‘It is more about instituting an entire way of thinking and reorganizing your brain to act contrarily after so many years of acting one specific way.’

Generating resolutions does grant a person his or her personal power and radiates that newfound anticipation for positivity and control. In that January 1st tradition, anyone has that opportunity to point himself or herself towards a meaningful path. When you imagine losing that cumbersome weight that you have been supporting, you may also envision a much healthier and more attractive person residing inside of you. Once that person emerges you may visualize a possible job promotion as well, meeting the love of your life, having more friends and the list of positivity goes on. This weight loss, in a person’s mind, may provide the impetus to making dreams come true! When failure interjects and points its realistic nose, so much hope can be lost. Choosing smaller changes that are more attainable can lead to much better chances of success as they are more achievable. You do not want to lose that January 1st enthusiasm with impossible wishes. Dream smaller to realize the dream. So how can we rise above the failed yearly resolution issue and continue to maintain this positive direction of change?

Primarily there must be realistic resolutions that are not too grandiose. If losing weight is your primary focus, do it very gradually with a proper and healthier approach. Exercising must also be incorporated with the program and don’t rush into something with high expectations. Perhaps a journal will also assist. Resolutions do not need to be grandiose and totally life altering. They can be as simple as cleaning the basement, organizing the drawers, or getting rid of years and years of accumulated junk that you will probably never look at again. I know, as experience in the junk-discarding department overwhelms me and I keep putting the ordeal off. Occasionally I attempt to organize some of it and then within an hour, I run from it. Breaking things down into the attainable is a more successful method. Looking at the whole goal is too intimidating and can scare a person off.

‘But the main focus, if you are desiring that change is to be realistic about what you can accomplish, and there is always a next time to try again.’

I really do value this entire resolution concept as it ascertains that we can always better ourselves no matter what stage we are in. We are never stuck to one way and that is a very hopeful sentiment. In the Jewish religion there is the Yom Kippor holiday which ultimately provides infinite chances for an improved lifestyle. For 24 hours you fast to cleanse yourself of your sins so that you can begin the Jewish New Year, fresh and ready to move forward without previous baggage and blame. I envision the universal New Year’s Resolution topic as a similar concept: that time to reinvent, put the past behind, and start anew. But the main focus, if you are desiring that change is to be realistic about what you can accomplish, and there is always a next time to try again.

Hopefulness lends us that continual strength to redo the past. We just have to declare that we can and use New Year’s as the opportune time to begin. If reaching your goal does not transpire at that time, trying again does not have to wait for a New Year. Remember that making a resolution is the first step towards change. According to a CBCSN article by journalist Ashley Welch, using the SMART method is helpful; Being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based is a good model to adhere to and be accountable. Personal change is never easy and small triumphs are the first significant steps towards accomplishing those resolutions, and never wait for a New Year to begin the process!

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Image: Rodrigo Soldon via StockPholio.net

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Marylin Smith Carsley is a Westmount writer whose work has appeared in several publications. 

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