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The Art of Making Resolutions

Guess what time it is?!

Yes! It is that wonderful time of year when we reluctantly shove holiday decor back into storage containers while gathering a few extra end-of-the-year Goodwill donations, all while halfheartedly cheering for several college football teams in obnoxiously-named over-advertised bowl games.

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Watching the ball drop in Times Square on NYE is a metaphorical event tied to new beginnings.

More importantly, it is a time to make resolutions for the New Year!

Making resolutions is an interesting pastime. Year after year, nearly half of all Americans make resolutions on December 31st as a way to help themselves feel like they are going to be a better person in the New Year. Whether we resolve to lose weight or spend more time with family, we are pressured into declaring our statement of intent as to how we are going to act for the next 365 – err, in the case of 2016, 366 – days. (But, who are we kidding? We know that our resolutions will naturally dissipate around Day 16…Day 20 if you are lucky.)

The new fad last year was to sum up all of the resolutions that you were

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This was me 365 days ago.

going to make into one word. Yep, so many people I follow on Twitter were coming up with a single word that would define their actions – or, at least, intentions – for one year. The word I chose last year was “better.”  By George, I was going to be better at everything I attempted! I was going to be a better teacher, wife, daughter, friend, co-worker, blogger, runner, reader, member of society…you name it! I’ll admit that this goal was pretty abstract, and I can see why to some it may seem like I was afraid to make a resolution that was measurable or tangible. Looking back, however, I can honestly say that I truly focused on this word this year and I worked hard – both personally and professionally – for the past 364.5 days to be better. (Side Note: I have never followed a New Year’s Resolution through for a whole year. Must be getting better at that, too.)

My word for 2015 was better; so what is my word for 2016 going to be?

Drumroll please…

 

There is not a single word out there that I can choose to replace my word for 2015. Just because 2015 is over, doesn’t mean I can stop trying to be a better person. I mean, we never can’t strive to be better. I feel that by choosing another word, my focus on being better will be over. And so I’ve decided that when the clock strikes midnight, I am still going to strive to be better.

Not too long ago, I realized that last New Year’s resolution turned out to be a lifelong resolution. And then it dawned on me: isn’t that what the art of making resolutions is all about? Creating a resolution isn’t about changing our self for a few weeks, months, or years, but changing our life. Resolutions begin a new chapter, so to speak, and therefore, change our whole story. If we do it right, we should be making resolutions that will have a life-long impact on us every January 1st, not just setting up unattainable goals or coming up with words that will be forgotten by the following December 31st. Bottom Line: Resolutions should change us, or we need to change how we make resolutions.

Remember: it takes anywhere from 21 to 254 days to form a habit. So whatever your resolution is for this year, stick with it and it can become a lifelong resolution!

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