Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolution Revolution For 2014


So many of us begin each new year with a list of New Year's resolutions. We carefully construct a list of things we'd like to change, what bad habit we'd like to give up, what healthy regime we'd like to incorporate into our daily lives in the year ahead and what social endeavors we wish to engage in to round out our lives.  Then, as the days of the new year begin to spread before us, we begin to let all those resolutions fade away. We might start smacking that chewing gum to the annoyance of our friends and family. The treadmill begins to collect dust and we stop going to the gym, first just a day here and there and, eventually, we stop going altogether. The low carb diet begins to seem tasteless and boring. The opera and French movies lose their mystic and wonder and we start watching reality shows on TV instead. Because we didn't follow through with all those resolutions we begin to feel bad about ourselves. Our self-esteem plummets and the next thing we know, we're back to the same old habits, behaviors and actions that didn't serve us well in the previous year.

Perhaps we just load up too much change at once and our expectations are too high. It's fine to want to begin changing our lives for the better, but New Year's day isn't the only new day. Every morning we awaken to a new day. We can begin again each day that comes. We can each choose one thing about ourselves that doesn't require all our energy and exhaust us. Perhaps we can decide on just one thing that we can do that would make our lives better or healthier. Make it simple. Make it achievable. We could change something on the inside like our attitude about something. A few things come to mind such as listen more and talk less. Smile even when we're having a bad day. Learn to mind our own business when we are bursting at the seams wanting to give unrequested advice. We might try becoming more mindful of our words. Our words can hurt or they lift someone up. Words are powerful. Like Superman, maybe we should use our power for good.

Anyway, I think you get the idea. We don't need to bend over backwards and grimace with effort to change ourselves. We just need to take one small step at a time.

I hope the New Year brings each of us peace of mind, empathy for others and inner joy.

26 comments:

Linda Broday said...

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said! Resolutions never go anywhere with me. What I do is set goals, things I'd like to achieve in the new year. This is more manageable and likelier to keep. Usually, it's a writing goal, something within reach that will spur me on.

Wishing you much success in 2014!!

Kathleen Rice Adams said...

Sarah, you are such a wise lady. I'm with you in the rebellion, sister! Here's to a bright 2014 overflowing with love, laughter, good friends, and better selves. HUGS!!!!

Cheryl Pierson said...

Sarah, I stopped making resolutions a long long time ago--I discovered that it was too much pressure on me, and no matter how good my intentions were in the beginning, by the end of the first week of January I was already feeling as if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. Baby steps is the best way! This is a great blog--I will keep it so I can come back and read it through the year and remind myself of these things.
Love and hugs to you!
Cheryl

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Linda, attainable goals are a very good thing. They make us reach without making us feel they're beyond our capabilities. Lordy, if a writer didn't set some goals, there'd be no books.
Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Kathleen, you always have the ability to make me laugh. You are a person filled with light. I love it that you shine on us and bring us all some joy.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Cheryl, you are such a constant friend. Even though I don't get to see you in person, I know you are always there for me. I just want you to know how much you mean to me. It makes me happy that you liked my blog. It's like getting a gold star in class. Thank you.

Jacquie Rogers said...

No resolutions for me, either. Once I went through a time when it was all too clear that I wasn't immortal, my perspective on such things changed drastically. Each day became more precious in a way I can't explain to those who haven't experienced it. And each day is an opportunity to do the best I can--which is better some days than others, and that's okay.

Celia Yeary said...

Right on the mark, Sarah. Setting expectations too high is about as self-defeating as anything can get.
Honestly, I don't recall ever making New Year's Resolutions. It's like making promises to yourself, and if you fail, then you feel even worse--because you let yourself down.
I do like to look back a little though, and study what I've done right during the year and what I've done wrong. That's been helpful to weigh one against the other.
All your points were worthy and thought-provoking. I think that's what we all need at the end of a year--something to make us think, and you have certainly done that.
Excellent post! And Happy New Year

Phyliss Miranda said...

Sarah, I love your blog on resolutions. I'm like Cheryl, I stopped years ago making ones that I know I won't keep. I do dislike chomping gum, which I had to endure on my trip back to Texas from California. It was my daughter and I was hitching a ride, so I just laid my head on pillows and tried to ignore it. I think I accomplished my feat. From a writing standpoint on January 1st I make two Goals lists. One are goals I know I can reach or at least are attainable but I also do "blue sky" ones that make me work for them. Many times to my surprise the blue sky ones are reached when the easier ones that I think are in the box don't come to fruitarian. Have a Happy New Years to all, Hugs, Phyliss

Linda Swift said...

Sarah, this is my first time to visit your blog site.It is lovely and reflects its creator. This was a wonderful blog today. New Year's resolutions have never worked well for me. But this year I resolve to take time to enjoy the little things every day that enrich my life and appreciate all the blessings that I have. All too often, I reget to say, I have been so busy trying to reach my goals, looking ahead too far, that I have failed to savor the present moments in my life.

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

I rebelled long ago. I decided with me, you can't really teach an old dog new tricks so I decided making resolutions was a waste of time...especially when I spent far more time opting to change over trying. What you see is what you get. Great post, Sarah.

Livia J Washburn said...

Sarah, loved your resolution blog. It never hurts to be kinder, but I probably won't make that resolution. The last resolution I made was to get rid of the clutter in my house. Our house and writing studio burned down to ashes that month. Obviously, that was my last resolution. Those have some bad juju. By the next year I certainly wasn't going to plan for weight loss. I could have lost a limb. More naps, I could have ended up in a coma. I'm not sure how being kinder could backfire, but it's best not to take a chance.

This year I'm going to do what I can, and not worry about the rest. Life is too short.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Jacquie, it took me a few rounds of trying to do New Year's resolutions before I finally got it that they just don't work for me. I think the second hand sports store is full of exercise equipment that was purchased under the belief that resolutions stick. Thank you so much for coming to my blog.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Celia, I tried for many years to write a list of resolutions until I was in my 30's and finally realized I never keep them. You're right--failed resolutions just make a person feel worse. I so appreciate that you took the time to come and comment on my blog.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Phyliss, my dad really disliked chew smacking. My sister and I learned quickly to give up gum chewing. But my dad saw nothing wrong with the big Irish Setter sitting in the back seat with my sister and me on long trips slobbering in our hair. Such is life. LOL
Thank you so much for coming by. I hope you achieve the goals on both your lists in the new year.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Linda, thank you for the compliment about my blog site. My website was designed for me by an Australian writer and web designer named Jodi Belle. The only thing I wish I could change is the rather risque dressed lady. I just want to cover up those bosoms some more.
I agree about having gratitude. Sometimes when things are down, it's probably a good time to write down those things for which I am grateful
I hope you have a wonderful New Year and thank you so much for coming by.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Ginger, you were a step ahead of me. I had to beat my head against the wall a few times before I got it that resolutions just don't work.
Thank you so much for commenting on my blog.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Livia, you crack me up. It's not funny about the place burning down when you wanted to clean up your clutter though. I work better with clutter on my desk. I saw recently in some news piece that clutter on a person's desk enhances their creativity. I wouldn't want to interfer with that.
BTW, I am so honored to have you visit and comment on my blog.
I wish you only good juju in 2014.

Lyn Horner said...

I totally agree, Sarah. One small step at a time is the way to go. Great post!

Paula Martin said...

Great blog, Sarah! I always think New Year is the wrong time to make resolutions. We're on an anti-climax after Christmas, and (in the northern hemisphere anyway), we still have the rest of the winter to face. Springtime, say March or April, always seems a more uplifting time to make any new resolutions.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I have to say Lyn, that sometimes I don't take my own best advice and try to do too much at once. It never ends well. Also, sometimes I promise to do too much for others and get overwhelmed. That usually ends with me feeling resentful or hurt.
I so appreciate that you came by to comment. It's so uplifting to see these comments and feel such kindness from those who came and shared their thoughts and experience.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Paula, you have a very good point about trying to decide on what we want to change about ourselves here at the threshold of winter. Spring does seem like a better time when life renews itself and so do we.
Thank you so much for coming by and commenting.

Tanya Hanson said...

Baby steps are always the best LOL. I even stopped writing in my daily journal last fall, I was just so tired of having to do something I'd started. but THAT, I guess, is a goal for 2014...write in it every day. Very good post, Sarah.
May 2014 bring you every good thing no matter what! xo

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hey Tanya. I know what you mean about forcing yourself to write in a journal every day. I stopped years ago. Besides, I found when I had something to say in my journal, it somewhere released my feelings better if I drew what I felt. I'm no artist, but drawing my feelings works well for me. I do keep a writer's jurnal, but I only write something down in it when I see or hear something intriguing when I'm out and about. I am never without my little writer's journal.
Thank you so much for coming by my blog and leaving a comment.

Sydney Jane Baily said...

Thanks, Sarah, for putting it in perspective. I try to be realistic this time of year, but I do let a little anticipation that something special will happen in the next year creep in. Resolutions are not the way to go, I agree. Goals are. I am, however, waiting with eager anticipation for my delayed Christmas present, an exercise bike because I do have a goal this year to create some fabulous leg muscles and not just on my romance characters. :)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Sydney,I think it's a fine idea to look forward to the new year with anticipation. It's good to be positive. I believe whatever you focus your thoughts on, you draw to you.
I am so glad to came by my blog and commented. I hope you have a wonderful New Year--leg muscles and all.