New Year's resolutions are objectively destined to fail. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that it’s preposterous that so many people continue to make resolutions in January and expect them to stick. It is, after all, the darkest and coldest time of the year, when hibernation is far more instinctive than voluntary physical activity. There’s a certain sense of hunkering down, battening the hatches, and comfort food and cozy sweats are what we crave; not light salads and spandex.
That’s not to say that everyone is destined to fail. The occasional resolution-setter with ironclad willpower will soldier on and emerge successful in the spring. But realistically, most people are more likely to embrace new habits and change, to see the light at the end of the tunnel – so to speak – when the days start getting longer and the temperatures start rising. Spring is, after all, the time for deep cleaning. Of our houses, our closets, our cars, ourselves. What better time to resolve to make healthy lifestyle changes than the season of new life?
Approach your questionable eating habits, your fickle dedication to working out, your inconsistent financial planning, and your dormitory social habits with as much gusto as your approach your sweater drawer.
This spring, I encourage you to become a maybe person. Not indecisive, but someone who doesn’t instantly and instinctively say either “yes” or “no” to every opportunity. For some of us, all too often we are offered the chance to try something new, to tiptoe beyond our usual boundaries, and it’s easier and less uncomfortable to just say no and stay your course. On the flip side of that coin, there are those of us who say “yes” to everything and everyone – for fear of missing out, for fear of offending someone, or for inability or unwillingness to make our own informed choices.
Take the middle road and leave yourself open to new things, new habits, new activities, new friends. Resolve to refrain from a kneejerk yes or no and instead actually weigh your options. If there’s one thing starting my own business has taught me, it’s that you never know where a new connection or new road will lead you (well, that and the fact that I really am not good at social media, but I digress). In most cases trying something new will at worst prove to be a small waste of time; at best, it will open your world up and challenge you in new and brilliant ways.
So what does this all mean for spring resolutions? Leave it wide open. Resolve to leave yourself open to change. And then embrace it when opportunities to change knock on your door. Now I understand such opportunities don’t always come looking for you, so you may have to do a little extra legwork. See a new exercise trend on the morning news that looks interesting? Sign up for a free class. Find yourself thinking fondly about a family member or old friend you haven’t seen in a while? Make plans to visit them. Feel a bit jealous of a friend who has recently started learning Italian for an upcoming trip? Sign up with Mango or Rosetta Stone and give a new language a try.
The point is: all too often we live with blinders on – so focused on what’s coming next that we don’t take the time to look around and see what we could be doing NOW. Spring is the perfect time to come out of your shell, literally and figuratively. So don’t let the months pass you by without embracing that new life. Come winter, you may just find hibernation has lost its appeal.