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Why I Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions

'Happy New Year 2014' photo (c) 2013, Rareclass - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

As awesome as I am, this is not a post about how I don’t need to change anything in my life. There are many things I wish I did better, or more consistently, or more, or less, or…or…or…

But January 1st is a shitty time to try to make those changes. For one thing, I have a lot of perfectionist tendencies. This does not mean I do everything perfectly, oh no. It means that if I can’t do it perfectly, it doesn’t get done. So, if I vow to do something starting on January 1st and I mess it up on January 4th, guess what? I tell myself “Oh well, next year.” My brain is pretty much incapable of saying “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start fresh tomorrow.” Won’t happen. I can’t start things on the first of the month, or Mondays, or at any time where I might risk breaking a perfect pattern.

Case in point: when I finally decided to lose weight last year I started on a random Tuesday in March. And it stuck.

But maybe you don’t have that particular affliction. January 1st is still a terrible time to try something new. It’s really winter now. And if you live in a place that gets a real winter, everything is going to be harder for the next few months. The energy that you should be putting towards your resolutions will instead be spent bundling kids up in extra clothes, chasing down lost gloves, shoveling, brushing off cars, and being cold. Do you really want to add to that burden? Think of how energized you’ll feel in spring?

Also, if you’re at all Christian-ish and celebrate Christmas in any way, you just finally got done with gifts and trees and lights and cards and big fancy meals and trips and whatever else you did to celebrate. Your school-age kids were underfoot for almost two weeks and you’re finally going to have some time to yourself to catch up. I will call this month a win if I actually do catch up on the things that didn’t get done in December. Why in the world would I want to add something extra right now?

I’m not saying don’t better yourself or make goals. I’m not saying to wait until some perfect time when the rest of your life is in order and the stars are perfectly aligned. I’m saying…wait a few weeks. Or a few months. Start that new project on a nice sunny day in February. Sign up for a 5K in June so that you don’t have to start running until spring. And for goodness’ sake, spread it all out or it’s just going to be overwhelming and undoable.

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