We dread it. We hide from it. We spend months trying not to think about it. But we all do it. Resolution lists. Every January, millions upon millions of Americans make a list of all the things they want to accomplish or ways they want to change.
Lists include the most common items such as losing weight, eating healthier and exercising more. Spending more time with the family or getting more rest top many lists. Sometimes lists include life goals, such as writing a novel or performing in a play. Bucket list items also jump onto the lists each year, including such extravagances as traveling to Paris, learning to skydive or swimming with the dolphins.
However, most people never stick with the resolutions. According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, 77 percent of people stick with resolutions for at least a week. This means a whopping 23 percent of resolution-makers don’t even make it until January 7. In addition, only eight percent of those who make resolutions ever fulfill those goals.
Why do so many give up on things that seem important when we write them as resolutions? Because all too often, the goals are too generalized to be sustainable.
This year, I’ve chosen to keep my own resolutions simple.
I am a writer. This is not limited to the writing I do on a daily basis for The Manning Times. I also write fiction, and for all too many years, it has taken a back seat to work, childrearing, family and more. I’ve set resolutions and goals before, generalized as “by xyz date, I will have 50,000 words written,” or some other lofty goal. This year, I am setting a resolution to write five minutes per day, and it cannot be anything pertaining to work.
I am a wife. Like many other spouses in the world, I’ve made generalized resolutions to “be a better spouse” without clarifying what that will mean. This year, I am making the resolution to make a list of things about my husband for which I am grateful. I will write one thing every morning, and no two entries will be the same. I will write the list in a little book and give it to him for Christmas next year.
I am aging, and as many women do at this age, I am putting on pounds I don’t want. This year, I am setting a resolution to learn yoga and do it at least ten minutes per day to become more limber and relaxed.
I am always busy. There is always something that needs to be done, something to demand my time. This year, I am resolving to take two hours each Wednesday afternoon that are just for me. No work. No cell phone. No TV. No laptop. Maybe I’ll take a bubble bath or read a book or paint my toenails. Maybe I’ll go for a walk or sit on the dock and watch nature. Whatever the case, it will be unplugged time just for me.
Nothing on my list of resolutions will demand a major amount of time or major changes. Five minutes of writing, 10 minutes of yoga, three or four minutes to consider and write why I am grateful for my husband, and two hours per week of me time. Yet each of these goals will have a major impact on my well-being. I know I will make it well past the first week and into the 77 percent. I hope I will end the year among the eight percent who reaches their goals.