brand! new! you!?

by MrsFatass on January 1, 2014

So it’s the first day of the new year and this resolution business is already making me cranky. Well, it’s not the actual act of making a ‘resolution’ that I don’t like. I totally get why the first of the year makes people want to get started on so many new things. It’s kind of the closest thing to a clean slate we really ever get, right? So why not take advantage of it? I am an encourager of setting goals at the new year and all year. Keeps us putting one foot in front of the other.

The problem, though, is that January One brings out the novice. Just like I stay in on New Year’s Eve because I don’t want to share the road with all the novice partiers out there, who only drank a little champagne but then get behind the wheel, I should stay off of Facebook on New Year’s Day because of all of the bad resolutions that I bump into. I am a goal setter all the time, not just when the clock strikes 12, so I’ve had a lot of experience in this arena. I’m good at setting goals and I’m kind of good at sticking with them. Do more cardio? That was my resolution in 2009, and a year later not only was I still doing more cardio, I was on my way to becoming an instructor. I have resolved to floss. To take more care with my appearance. This year? I resolve to send birthday cards to my immediate family and to do it on time. I’m buying stamps tomorrow and I might even go ahead and buy birthday cards too. Set myself up for success.

Goals are good when they are specific. When you know what you want to achieve and you have a clear path for getting there. But today I’m tooling around Facebook and see ridiculous stuff like “live every day like it’s my last.” WTF? I mean, I love the notion of a goal like “make sure the last thing I always say to my child is ‘I love you’” because I would never want my last words to a loved one to be “you drive me batshit crazy.” But live each day like it is my last? What does that even mean?

I saw a lot of “be a better person” kind of stuff too. Now, you may be asking yourself what kind of a person picks on a person who just wants to be a better person, and I’m with you on that. I don’t want to criticize someone who wants to be a force of good in the world. My problem isn’t with the desire to be better, my problem is with the lack of specificity on the HOW. HOW do you want to be a better person? Most of us want to do just that. But being so vague will just leave you lost in the sauce. What are you going to do? Are you going to go back and fix something you broke? Right a previous wrong? Say you’re sorry to someone you screwed over? Or are you going to be a better person by starting to tithe? Volunteer? Or are you going to be a better person by always taking the furthest parking spot from the door so you leave a closer one for someone who may need more? By always paying for coffee of the person in line behind you at Starbucks?

The possibilities are endless really. But if somebody isn’t writing down the specifics - I want to be a better person this year by always letting someone with only one or two items cut in front of me at the grocery store – then chances are they haven’t really given much thought to the how. And so how will they measure their progress?

That’s kind of the problem with resolutions. They are for the novice goal setter, who really has no choice but to forget about them in a month or two because they didn’t really set themselves up for success. These lofty, fluffy, Brand! New! Me! resolutions give the whole process a bad name. It’s a time waster. I’m more of the put up or shut up school of thought than the “lets find more ways for me to justify being who I am without really having to work to change a thing” camp. You know?

It’s top of mind for me right now, being a person of my word. I took a big knife to the back recently and it’s made me much more aware of how my own actions affect others. Even if it’s just standing up in front of a group of students at trio and saying “I’m going to lose 10 pounds with you all this month” (which I kind of did. EEk) I want to make sure they all know they can trust me. That I’m not just saying that so they’ll buy another membership. That when I say we’re in this together, I really mean it.

So, for me, resolutions at this or any other time of year have to ring true, so while some folks are making a brand! new! them! this year (I mean, REALLY? You’re resolving to make a brand new YOU?) I’m going to stick with the me I’ve got and go with these:

1.      Send birthday cards (and send them on time) to my immediate family and best friend this year.

2.      Work with a dog trainer to help my puppies have better manners. Blue was obviously mistreated before he came to us and he needs to be better socialized.

3.      Make sure “I love you” is the last thing I say every time I say goodbye to a loved one. Every. Time.

Happy New Year! (I love you!)

(See? See how I did that?)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

quix January 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

I am totally with you on the specifics. In fact, I haven’t really posted my resolutions yet because I need more time to think about them, in that they’re not really as specific as they could be, and I want to make sure what I put on that list is priority and reasonable. It’s nice and all to say I’m going to get my house 100% organized (like I did in 2013), but when push came to shove, my mental sanity took precedent over this goal.

I like your goals! Cheers to a great 2014!

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jules January 2, 2014 at 11:32 am

I like the examples of specific! I did the word thing….Self…because their are over a hundred words that begin with self and I can use one everyday for living in that moment because life changes…..but to play along…a specific for me
to create the habit of walking through the doors of the gym 3 times a week
to create the habit of yoga practice 2 times a week
to not take life so seriously by using my sense of humor at least once a day

Happy New Year!

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staci January 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm

i love you, too! i get where you’re coming from. i had said i wanted to be better (not specifically, but sort of) but know i have to create some actual goals but they.are.hard. to put in writing. i applaud you for already getting on it!

oh, i did make an actual goal to go to bed before eleven at night. last night? 10:30. who is awesome?!

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Donna January 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Agreed. It’s wonderful to have big dreams, but useless without a plan. I have a friend who is always joining every single fitness challenge. “I’m going to lose 50 pounds in November!” “I’m going to fit into a size 2 bikini by June!” And then she goes nuts on Pinterest Pinning all these clean eating recipes and makes multiple FB posts each day about how her personal trainer is trying to kill her. And then … she might lose 5 or 10 pounds, but after a couple weeks, it’s back to her old habits. I like taking a big goal and breaking it down into more manageable, bite-sized pieces, and planning accordingly. I’ve found what works for my body in terms of diet and exercise; it’s just a matter of sticking with it. My main goal this year is to take more things in stride, and save more money. Saving money is easy to plan for – give yourself a budget each month. Taking things in stride – you just have to take each opportunity as it comes and try to do better. No planning involved, just awareness.

Happy New Year, Hotass! I hope 2014 is as spectacular as you are.

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Angela January 2, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I don’t traditionally do the whole resolution thing because I think any day is just as good as Jan 1 to start working towards a new goal. I was just ranting to hubby today about how we went straight from the annoying Christmas commercials into the annoying “if you lose 10 lbs you’ll be HAPPY” commercials. This post is fantastic!

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A. January 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Yeeeaaahhh… in the past, I was great at goal setting and getting stuff done (for the most part). I’ve reverted into novice goal setter. How is that even possible?!

I appreciate the post, really, though. I’ve actually been trying to take time to figure out how I want to do 2014 to be better. I know one year isn’t gonna make me all, y’know, perfect – because who really is? ;)

Maybe I’ll join the whole losing 10 pounds with y’all thing. Small steps!

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