The No-Resolution Approach to 2014

Okay, confession time: It’s 4:00 pm on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve and I’m alone in my sister’s dangerously well-stocked kitchen (think two refrigerators full of holiday leftovers and a walk-in pantry).

After a week of maintaining my routine of intermittent fasting and relatively disciplined eating (considering I’m faced with daily onslaughts of French toast and sausage breakfasts, homemade pizza and lasagna dinners and decadent desserts), I make it to the last day of the year only to give into a mini-feeding frenzy. Suddenly, I’m scarfing down the last two Godiva chocolates, throwing back handfuls of trail mix and polishing it off with a mint chocolate ice cream bar.*

Inside my head, I hear the sneaky rationalizations: “Go ahead! It’s the last day of the year, your last chance to splurge before you go back to perfect self-control tomorrow.” (Uh huh, right.)

The power of a fresh start

And that, I realize, is the powerful lure of resolutions. They dangle the promise of a fresh start, an easy transformation into a “new and improved” version, even as they justify continuing what we’re doing. We think that once we’re “over there” we’ll somehow magically and easily be able to behave differently than we do now.

This year, how about a different approach? Instead of waiting for an “artificial” new beginning — tomorrow, Monday, the first of the month or next time — why not train yourself to see every moment as a fresh start. To hit re-set immediately and opt for the different behavior…now. That way you can:

  • control your irritation with that annoying colleague…now
  • give more in your workout…now
  • go for the healthy snack (an apple and almonds!) rather than the Snickers….now
  • be more attentive and patient with your children…now
  • put down the cell phone and listen carefully in the meeting…now

Give up the illusion that there is some magical moment out there in the future where you will be able to change your behavior in one dramatic, fell swoop — poof! Instead, let it be a year of continuous fresh starts and ongoing transformation. Because all your power is in the…now.

* Oh, and there may have been yogurt-covered peanut clusters involved.

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