“What’s your New Year’s resolution?”
This question has always bugged me. I literally just figured out my disdain while trying to craft a Musing about the importance of resolutions. I didn’t know why, but it has always grated my nerves that because it was a new year I had to miraculously be motivated to turn over a new leaf, break an old habit, and/or insert a new one. So why does this tradition of setting resolutions at the turn of a new year irritate me?
By definition, a Resolution is a formal expression of intention. A resolution is something I resolve to do… in the future. A resolution lacks immediate action. A resolution lacks substance. A resolution has an understood eventual failure with baked-in excuses. Breaking a resolution is so common that by January 10th people are discussing how long they went before they stopped making the change they wanted. A resolution is something I should do versus something I am doing. A resolution doesn’t embody the same power as habit. If something is that important for me to change or accomplish, why do I need to wait for January 1st to start implementing it?
I realized I have much better success at change when I simply Act As If versus planning and putting off how I’m going to do something. The speed of accomplishment doesn’t matter so long as I continue to move forward.
After I wrote my Act As If musing I decided to follow my own advice. I’d been complaining to my doctor that my post-chemo meds were making me gain weight. As I told my doctor, “I’ve put on 8 pounds in six weeks. I have to be on this medication for 10 years… do the math!” Her thought bubble was crystal clear, “I’m not really concerned about that… you’re alive.”
So I decided to act as if I was a “health nut” or at least a “quasi-health nut.” I stopped making excuses and planned at least four workouts a week. I stopped allowing for multiple “small” indulgences throughout the day, which added up to anywhere from 500 to 1,500 calories. I started dressing more like someone who is fit and healthy. I made sure that every choice I made during the day was going to make me healthier and more fit.
Lo and behold the weight came off and I’m stronger and feel more fit than I’ve have in years. I literally acted as if until it became habit. Had I waited until January 1st, who knows how much more weight I’d have to resolve to lose?
So my New Year’s resolution is to always make sure I’m Acting As If when I want change. To live fully is to take control of your life and start DOING that which you want to become.
Please share your thoughts. What changes are you looking to make and how are you going to accomplish them and how have you accomplished something in the past. Always curious to hear how someone has made a Life change for the better.
Here’s to a healthy, fun, adventurous and inspiring 2017.
Happy New Year!
Photo by Jamie Street