With the annual dropping of the ball on December 31st comes the all-too-familar ritual of resolving to live differently, beginning the very next day. But, way too often, our good intentions to exercise daily and give up junk food entirely fall absolutely flat before we even reach February 1st, In fact, research by the University of Scranton shows that only 8% of folks actually succeed at following through on their resolutions.1 I know that I'd like to break from tradition this year. Wouldn't you?
In a Huffington Post piece, Dr. Roberta Anding of Baylor College of Medicine, suggests a different approach. "January 1st signifies a new beginning. However, each day allows for a new beginning," she told the Huffington Post.2 Dr. Anding suggests a new mind-set that does away with the all-or-nothing approach of the traditional New Year's Resolutions.
Rather than going cold turkey off of sugar or deciding to go 100% vegan on January 1, the doctor suggests more gradual changes that actually become part of a new lifestyle. After all, that's what we're all looking for out of our resolutions, isn't it? A new way to live that produces better results than the year before.
We live in an instant gratification culture where we don't have to wait for much of anything; so, it's no wonder that when want change, we want it yesterday! Unfortunately, though, in this rigid way of thinking, we're not giving ourselves space to be human. Change is hard and it takes time. Resistance is our natural, human reaction to change, and we're bound to give in to it at some point. A setback can either derail our efforts entirely or it can be a setup for a comeback - it's all in the way we look at it.
Let's be encouraged in this new year 2017, to embrace our humanity. Yes, let's definitely set goals and make plans to be the best version of our true selves! We owe it to ourselves to grow - but, we also owe it to ourselves to give ourselves the time and space necessary to do so.
A gentle and willing heart, an ambitious but realistic plan, a forgiving yet determined attitude are all things that we can take into the new year to help us grow past who we were in 2016. Here's to a whole year full of new beginnings!