Call me a pessimist if you’d like, but when I hear about people making New Year’s resolutions it just makes me chuckle.
So many people decide the turn of the calendar is a good time to fix all the things they don’t like about life or to at least address things that need to be improved.
Then about a week later, just about everyone is back to their regular routine.
Oh yes, I know — that won’t be you this year. You are really going to do it this time.
Sure you are.
According to the New York Post, most resolutions are broken by Jan. 12. A USA Today survey was more optimistic, saying most make it to Jan. 17. According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, just 8 percent of those who set resolutions achieve those goals.
I thought it might be fun to take a quick look at some commonly broken New Year’s resolutions.
1. Exercise more
It never fails. The first week of January is the busiest of the year at your local fitness center. It also doesn’t take long for people who don’t generally exercise to figure out it is hard work. My wife and I went to the gym last night, Jan 6. Of course, we tend to go later than most people so there is always a more sparse crowd. However, I was pretty stunned that, other than my wife and I, there were only two other people that showed up in the time we were there. And it’s only Jan. 7! I would have thought we could have stuck with that one longer people.
2. Eat healthily
There are reasons most of us don’t eat right in the first place. For some, it’s the convenience of your average McMeal. For some, unfortunately, cost has something to do with it. You can get a bag of chips or an order of fries for about a buck. A decent salad costs about five bucks. While that just seems wrong, it’s a fact of life. But for me, the reason I’d never make it on this one is taste. I’m a meat and potatoes guy. If I look at my plate and the stuff on it looks like what I ran over with my lawn mower, I’m going to have a negative opinion of it before I even try it. I seriously know people that eat stuff that looks exactly like the leaves on the bushes in my back yard. I just can’t do it folks.
3. Be more frugal
But, look at the shiny new things!
4. Quit smoking (or other bad habits)
I wish for the sake of those who would like to quit that this one was easier. I hope you can get it done, but, honestly, the game is rigged against you. Habits are hard to break anyway and in the case of smoking, the companies that make these things put addictive chemicals in the product to make it that much harder. It can be done though. Be strong.
5. Get more organized
If you aren’t already a neat freak, you aren’t likely to become one. After a long day at work, you just want to get everything out of your hands so you can plop down on the couch. It’s a lot easier to drop it in the entryway or on the dining room table than it is to carefully place it where it’s supposed to go.
6. Learn a new skill
Sounds fun. Sounds interesting. Takes time. Takes effort. Probably more effort than you are willing to put in because if it didn’t you would have learned it already.
7. Travel more
Again, sounds fun. Also, takes time. And money. Lots and lots of money.
8. Less screen time
Be it television or social media or just some other random thing, we’ve all become addicted. Much like the getting organized thing, this is easy to say and harder to do. Modern technology has just made it so easy to check out for a while. I would have never guessed 20 years ago it would be perfectly normal to carry on a conversation with someone who never looks up from their phone, but now it happens all the time.
9. Be less stressed
If only it were that easy, right? I mean, who wants to be stressed? The thing is, it’s not a matter of choice. It’s just something that happens.
10. Spend more time with family and friends
Very few people I know intentionally avoid doing this, so resolving to do more of it would seem to be a difficult task.
Does all this mean that committing to a change is a bad idea? Of course not. I’m just being realistic.
The thing is with just about all of these things, we should already be trying to do them. It shouldn’t need to be a resolution. It should be just a part of our lifestyle.
To think you are just going to magically change your lifestyle just because the year just changed is silly. You can make changes at any time, but the key is you have to want to do it. You have to be committed. I said earlier that habits are hard to break. That goes for good habits too. You just have to create them.