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The resolution woes
jessica brown column
Jessica Taylor.

2018 is officially behind us – some of us relieved, some of us saddened by the events that transpired in our worlds over 365 days.

Now it’s time we welcome 2019 with open arms and see what the New Year has in store for us.

And of course that means we’ve all created a list of our resolutions.

You know, that little piece of paper we all forget about come January 5 (or January 10 if you were really committed to your resolutions).

Without fail I sit down at the end of every year with a pen and paper ready to sketch out what I want the New Year to look like for me, knowing all too well I’ll fall off the bandwagon before I even jump on.

There’s just something so difficult about keeping resolutions.

That expensive home gym equipment that you begged for all winter long that you opened Christmas morning sits cold and alone in the corner of the room collecting dust while pounds of kale slowly rot in your fridge.

It seems those are the two biggest resolutions, right? After we’ve spent the latter half of the year munching on Halloween candy, stuffing our tummies with stuffing on Thanksgiving, guzzling down the hot cocoa and sneaking a few of the cookies baked specifically for Santa, we’ve told ourselves that we would eat healthier, get more active and lose all that weight we just put on.

We might also tell ourselves we want to find new hobbies, make new friends, learn a new skill or language. But those fizzle out too because learning Italian was way more “difficile” than we thought.

I wish I had the answer for why resolutions fall flat at the starting line.

It could be that we spend so much time focused on “going to” do something than actually “doing” it.

In my case I know that’s true. It’s like when I tell my husband “I’m going to put away the dishes” but we both know that means “At some point when I feel like it I’ll put up the dishes, eventually.”  

I’ll eventually get around to achieving my goals. I’ll eventually find the motivation and the inspiration. I’ll eventually stop dwelling in my complacency and get around to doing what I want to do.

That seems to be how it’s been lately. I’ve become too accustomed to saying I’ll get around to things, making excuse after excuse – whether it’s out of fear of failure, sheer laziness, or an overwhelming feeling that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

Every year from Dec. 26-30 I reflect on the year and wallow in self-pity at all the big, wonderful, fantastical things I didn’t accomplish because that fear, laziness or anxiety held me back.

But then miraculously on New Year’s Eve I find a spark of determination and confidence that only champagne can bring.

As I watch that big shiny disco ball or the giant peach drop at midnight (whichever program doesn’t have Mariah Carey this year), I feel fully committed to turning over a new leaf and becoming a better person.

But how do I keep that gusto and drive I felt from the buzz on New Year’s Eve for another 365 days? I can’t drink ceremonial champagne every day to keep that feeling alive – my liver would never forgive me.

But I know I must overcome years and years of failed resolutions to come out successful in 2019.

I’ve thought of the pressures and the guilt of the failed resolutions I’ve lived through every year, and realized the cold hard truth.

I’m a simple human trying to fix all my problems in a day, and that’s just not feasible.

I look back at my list of 20 resolutions, lamenting in the 15 I didn’t achieve rather than celebrating the five I did accomplish.

Well there’s been my problem all along!

I set myself up for failure by putting pressure on myself to build all of Rome in a day rather than making a manageable list of goals I could actually complete in 12 months.

How in the world did I expect my 2018 self to have the time to learn a new language, publish a book, travel to a new country, win the lottery, visit Mars, come up with a cure for hair loss in dogs, successfully run for president and start a foundation for the rehabilitation of neglected goldfish all in one year?

Alright, some of that is hyperbole but you get the idea. My plate was fuller than it had been on my first helping at Thanksgiving.

So when I sat myself down on Dec. 31 to write my resolutions, I looked at my previous list, once thought of as failure, and checked off the five I did accomplish. Then I made a new list of five resolutions I know I can reach in 2019.

And then it all became much more manageable. So let’s see if keeping a small amount of constructive and clearly defined goals rather than a hundred random wishes makes the difference.

I guess you and I will both find out Dec. 31, 2019.

Jessica Taylor is the education and features reporter for the Dawson County News. Her columns will appear periodically.