Carpe Diem! Why New Year's resolutions happen all year long
I’ve been seeing a lot of New Year’s resolution posts on social networking the last couple days. Since I’ll be 50 in 2015, I’ve been making resolutions since my last birthday. That means a lot of thinking and soul searching.
One thing I realized was that gym memberships, Weight Watchers, smoking cessation programs, and other resolutions spike in January and within a month people are joking about their dismal failures. This is a huge blow to someone’s self-esteem and confidence as it may seem they’re not strong enough to follow through on their convictions. But the truth is, their failure really doesn’t mean anything about them personally.
There are several things I want to do in 2015. As well, turning 50 is a right of passage warranting major changes, correct? No. That just isn’t true. What has happened instead is that I have taken an attitude of “seize the day,” no matter what time of year it is. Carpe Diem!
One instance of this is starting to write for Quiet Mike. In 2008, I was in an accident that cost me my career. I was forced into early retirement and had nothing to do. For four years I was depressed, anxious, had no idea what I was going to do with my life. When the opportunity came to write one article a week, I grabbed it. Learning to write has been a great experience and I am very grateful. But this had nothing to do with a New Years resolution.
In May of 2013, I rescued a small dog. It gave me something to take care of now that my son is 25. He’s done with college and I can’t shake those empty nest feelings. I walk her three times a day, keeping my weight under control, and this helps with my daily physical therapy. I’m happy that I just decided to do it and stuck with it. This also had nothing to do with a New Years resolution.
In August of 2013, I took sailing lessons. The buoyancy of boating has been a boon, and doesn’t cause more pain than I’m already in. The class was rough, but I did learn how to tie knots, rudder, and pull sails. When I go sailing now, it’s a tremendous help to my self-esteem. I enjoy the water and it calms me. That made me very proud that I accomplished all of this and learned a new hobby to boot.
A few months ago, I turned off cable TV. Now I just stream using Apple TV. Where I live has free wi-fi so this saves me $150 a month, my electric bill has lowered, and I actually glean more from reading the news than I did from the chronic and endless loop of the main stream (and fragmented) media.
I was really only watching Comedy Central and various news stations, but as I can stream those as well, my viewing habits are mostly unaffected. I am still waiting for HBO to catch on to the trend, allowing customers to purchase a subscription Netflix-style without having to be a cable news subscriber. That’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
Last New Year’s I experimented with making no resolutions. My doctor put me on a strict diet a few years ago and I have been compliant, so resolutions about eating less or what have you were moot. In fact, in rebellion to those stereotyped resolutions, this morning I had two doughnuts! Boo-YAH!
Resolutions come up all year long. That means there is no reason to give up on something you want, improve yourself, or quit a bad habit. Don’t limit yourself to New Years, you have every day of the year. Procrastinating is something most people struggle with, that just means you’re human. The point is to be kind to yourself. Love yourself and good things will come your way. Regardless of your age, you can always go back to school, change your career, take up a new hobby, or just try new ethnic foods.
This year I would like to be more social. That will inevitably happen in time. My feelings about myself, my health and my thoughts are happier and more productive. I have weeded out the toxic people in my life, and that’s another accomplishment in and of itself.
Don’t let a few bad days ruin your entire year. I know that’s hard to do. Just remember that we’ve all been through it. Not much happened for me in 2014 and that’s okay. And that’s okay for you too. The focus for you shouldn’t be New Years day, but every day. So your resolution this year should be to seize the day.
Happy New Year! Make it count! Cheers!