Remember, just a few months ago, all those New Year’s resolutions you so diligently made? Those well-intentioned but ever elusive goals that now seem to have been all but forgotten? In fact, most Americans have already failed their resolutions by the beginning of February. Gym memberships, for instance, increase greatly in January, along with general promises to exercise more — but who wants to exercise in the dead of winter?
Here lies the issue in New Year’s resolutions: people feel pressured to make them, but it comes at a time in the year that does not encourage change. When we think of winter, we often picture warmth, family and comfort food, whereas spring connotes new beginnings and positive change. Therefore, it only seems sensical to create our resolutions and goals in the spring, as it is likely we’ll be more motivated with the season’s changes.
On New Year’s Day I have a tradition of writing a list of resolutions for the year and taping that list to the back of my calendar. Then, on January 1st of the next year, I’ll look at the list again and reminisce. Over the past few years I’ve realized that I haven’t been achieving most of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year; either I shoot too high or they are simply unrealistic to my life.
Often, events and matters we cannot control make a great impact on our lives, and if these circumstances negatively affect our abilities to reach our goals, we tend to look for fault within ourselves, despite the outside influence.
For instance, last year I had the objective to become more physically fit. By the end of 2017, however, I had only made progress in a few areas, and when I looked over my resolutions again I was disappointed and convinced I would never be able to reach my fitness goals. I failed to take into consideration that I had periods of illness and stress that I could not necessarily control — and those times had a great impact on my physical activity and wellbeing.
Such negative thinking traps us, as do the “rules” we set for ourselves in the guise of New Year’s resolutions. Ultimately, I understood that it makes much more sense to change and grow as the year goes on, altering and rewriting our aims along with the seasons.
Test it for yourself. Write down a list of what you would like to achieve this spring and summer. While the weather is warm, take advantage of exercising outside and enjoying the sun. Another great way to motivate yourself is to keep a journal. For me, writing relieves stress and allows me to use my creative mind. Try writing in a journal every morning (even if it’s just a few words) and in a couple months you’ll see how far you’ve come — or you’ll come to the realization that you may need to actually change your goals (and stop blaming the weather) in order to achieve them.
Adopting this mindset can prevent feelings of frustration and disappointment and will allow you to understand that spring is definitely not too late to start making changes. This can make a positive impact on your outlook and will make it more fun and exciting to actually put in the hard work necessary to reach your objectives. With spring and summer comes warm weather and new opportunities, so if on March 20th, you find yourself lamenting your failed resolutions, don’t wait until next January to begin anew, but simply re-start again.
It’s time to come up with some new resolutions!