Are you a New Year’s Resolution kind of person?
I’d like to be, but most years, I have broken my resolution within HOURS of the bell falling.
Last year, my resolution was to be a kinder person to my fellow man. And I meant it, I really did. Until the dog licked my face at 5 in the morning on New Year’s Day and I yelled at her and told her that I found her at the Humane Society, and I definitely know how to take her right back there... I guess that wasn’t really breaking my resolution, since she’s technically not my fellow man, but then my wife started telling me that I shouldn’t talk to the dog that way. In the end, the incident resulted in my speaking unkindly towards a fellow (wo)man that I really love. She got an earful. My resolution unraveled even further after she left slamming the bedroom door and I yelled after her to make breakfast since she was up.
So yeah, I’m not great at resolutions. Oh, I try, and I am serious about wanting to be better in 2022, but I’m not great at sticking to my guns when life gets hard or once I feel I’ve slipped. That has been on my mind for a while now. I was talking to my wife last night, in fact, about how I really stink at keeping my resolutions. And she gave me some great perspective that I'd like to share with you.
When I said that I wanted to make a resolution and actually try to stick to it this year, she said, “Don’t.” I looked at her, trying to figure out if she was telling me that I was already perfect in her eyes and I didn’t need to change anything, or (more likely) that she was saying that she knows I have struggled with achieving my resolutions in the past and that I should not set myself up for failure.
Thankfully, she went on to explain, saying: “Stop trying to be perfect. Just do better today than you did yesterday. Remember how far you’ve come from 2 years ago and be proud of what you’ve done. If you slip and eat something that you shouldn’t, don’t just give up, but remember where you want to be and try harder in some other area. Maybe you shouldn’t have had that cookie, but then go ahead and make your salad bigger and healthier.”
I nearly crashed the car when she said that. It was a great twist on making resolutions. I want to be healthier and stronger in 2022 than I was in 2021. But trying to stick to inflexible resolutions on a chase to achieve perfection is impossible (and not helpful in the end). So, this year, what I’ve decided to do is just focus on making small manageable improvements with a few over-all goals in mind.
Goal 1: Eat Healthier
I want to recognize that I’m not perfect, that I do tend to reach for foods that I shouldn’t eat. I want to acknowledge the areas where I struggle and work on finding ways to improve. With this new approach, I don’t have to eat only healthy foods so long as MOST of what I eat is healthy and smart. Up until now, I might have snuck a cookie and then felt like with that one cookie, I ruined the healthy eating resolution and so I may as well eat a few more. Now, I can have a cookie because I know enjoying one doesn't doom all my day’s efforts to make healthy choices. After the cookie, I can move on with my day and find something healthier to eat.
More fruits and vegetables this year, less animal protein, more food made at home with love rather than eating out. That’s my goal. I think this new perspective will help me get there.
Goal 2: Move More
We have 3 dogs – 2 that we own and 1 that we are fostering. Having 3 dogs means that we go on a lot of walks. We all share the walking duties, but I’ll just say that I am less excited about being dragged around the neighborhood by our foster dog, Oakley. He is too strong to be handled by anyone else. He is an extreamily eager walker, and it only gets worse when there’s a small animal in his line of sight. Seriously, my chest was hurting like crazy the other day and I thought I was having a heart attack until I realized that it was just muscle strain from holding Oakley back.
So another goal of mine this year will be to walk Oakley more often, and without complaint. It’s obvious that he loves to go out and pretend that he’s hunting. I should find ways to enjoy it with him. It’s good for him and good for me, so why do I gripe about it every day? I shouldn’t. I’m going to start taking him and trying to find ways to make it more pleasant. Maybe listening to a book while we walk or stopping to see friends on the way would help as well as some training time so that he’s more obedient while we walk. I don’t know yet, but I’ll work on being intentional about finding joy in something that I’ve never enjoyed.
And I guess that sums up my general outlook for this year. Finding joy in the mundane would be a great way to live. Changing my attitude so that I care about myself and my health more as well as the people (and dogs) that I love spending time with. That sounds like a great way to live.
I know that I still won’t be perfect, but I’m giving myself some grace. Maybe when I write this blog again next year, I’ll be able to say that I made my not-resolutions stick for a whole year.
Be good to yourself. You deserve it. Happy New Year.