The Trick to Keeping Resolutions

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. It feels contrived and because it feels that way, for me, they don’t stick. Will this be the year I organize all my closets, keep my house consistently tidy, lose weight, stick to a tighter budget, enjoy my family more, watch less TV, eat more veggies and change in a million other tiny ways to make me better? Probably not. Will this year be just like last year in that I will try to reform in a number of ways throughout the year with mixed success? Probably.

Last year I tried to be a nicer mommy. I tried to be a stricter mommy. I tried to be a more playful mommy. I tried to be a more mindful mommy. In the end the change happened to the kids and I basically stayed the same. I cleared out some closets and then let them turn into cluttered messes again. I decluttered and donated about 200 metric tons of stuff only to turn around and find that I had somehow accumulated 300 metric tons of new stuff. I cut back on my use of “damn” and increased my use of “shit;” cut back on “asshole” and increased in “douchebag.”

The truth is that I am who I am. I consider myself a fairly self-aware individual and I’m forever striving to be a better version of myself (in my head) while I sit on the couch in my PJs. I will never opt for a wheat-grass protein smoothie over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. It is not in the cards. Likewise, I will never say that kale chips are totally a satisfying replacement for potato chips. People, it’s baked kale for chrissakes!

The real deal resolution that I will make is that I will try to do more good than harm in 2012. I will try to have more fun times than aggravating times with my family. I will try to have more homemade meals than plates full of nugget shaped objects. I will try to make more good, healthful choices than spoonfuls of Nutella choices. This is the kind of resolution I can get behind because built right into it is forgiveness and leniency. I know that I’m still me and a spoonful of Nutella here and there is just gonna happen. But carrots and apples will happen too and it’s all going to be OK.

Who’s with me? Let’s quit trying to make promises to ourselves that we can’t keep, only to end up feeling let down. The problem isn’t with us, it’s with the promises in the first place. Keep it small. Keep it in perspective. And before you know it, 2013 will arrive and you’ll look around and say, “Wow, that closet might be slightly cleaner than it was last year!” Then you can sit back in your PJs with your spoon of Nutella and feel good about yourself. Doesn’t that sound nice?

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