Why I Hate Resolutions

I also posted on hating Christmas, and it earned me a phone call from the Ricki Lake Show.  I must not have hated Christmas enough, though, because I didn’t win the golden ticket to be a guest on their show.

I’m crushed.

During the New Year social media buzzed about resolutions, goals, and one word descriptions for 2013.  This stresses me out.  I can’t think of a word for 2013 because I’m exhausted from 2012.  Vacation would be my word for 2013, but my principal and husband probably wouldn’t like that.MP900309664

Resolutions and goals are good.  As a counselor in a school, in private practice, and as a service provider to the community, I assist people in achieving goals all the time.  But I’ll share a secret with you:

{there’s nothing magical about January 1}

Sometimes, I just have to be blunt.  Call me the Geico therapist.

Changes are hard.  And yet they’re not.  We can psych ourselves into thinking we have to achieve epiphany moments for change to happen.  This isn’t so.  Significant change happens over time.  Slow and steady wins the race.  You may plan for change on January 1, but if you don’t start until July 23, you’ll still get the same results.

Just Do It.  

What changes do you need to make?  Resolutions sound epic.  Change really is mundane and simple. Just don’t eat that carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  Don’t drive by that bar on the way home from work.  Don’t type that URL into your computer.  Walk away from that challenging preschooler and lock the door behind you until you calm down.

Just Do It.

MP900289488In your plan for change, know you’ll mess up.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but setting realistic expectations is important.  Change is a process.  Small moments are crucial.  You take one step forward.  Your next step might be forward, standing still, or taking a step backwards.  The goal is to MOVE FORWARD.

When I made the decision to tackle a seven-year-old eating disorder, it didn’t happen over night.  I made a resolution not to take the messed-up addiction into my marriage.  Unfortunately, it didn’t go away once I walked down the aisle.  I had to work at it.  Every day.  Every hour of every day for several years.  But the more I said “No” to the  learned patterns, the easier it became to change the behavior.  The more victorious steps I took, the healthier and stronger I became.

There were steps backward.  In those moments, it was easy to think, “Why try?  I failed, again.”  But that’s when I had to look at the victories I already achieved.  Even when I took a backward steps, I was at a different place than when I started.

The same is true for you, this day in January that’s not January 1.  If you have not yet started towards your goals for the year, then get out of your rut and start moving.  Take one step today.  That’s all.  And celebrate it.  Make a big deal about it, at least between you and God.  No one may ever see the progress you make in your goals but Him.  And He’s cheering for you.

But you have to make the steps, first.  We have a gracious God, full of power for any insurmountable feat, but He requires that we do our part of the work.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”   James 4:8

Notice this promise comes with initial action on our part.  We have to move towards Him, and He will move towards us.  It’s the same with reaching goals.  We have to move towards the goal.  We have to invite God into our journey for His power to be manifest.  For years I prayed that God would take away the vicious cycle I was in as a teenager with an eating disorder.  It was only until I resolved within myself to surrender the struggle and walk towards victory that God’s power was made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Change is hard because it requires us to give up the payoff, even when it’s not healthy.  Once you have tasted newness, it’s easier to give up the garbage of the past.

If I could offer you one word for 2013, it would be Forward.  No matter where you are, and whatever goals you’ve set for yourself,  Just. Walk. Forward.

Don’t get stuck with your behind in your past. (Pumbaa, Lion King).

Forward 2013. 

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