Here we are a week into 2015 - a New Year. A week living in sync with those New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, work out and be on our way to debt freedom!
Well - so we would like to think. According to The Washington Post just 7 days into the New Year and a quarter of us have already abandoned our resolutions. What are the most popular resolutions we can’t keep? To loose weight, exercise, improve finances and finally kick that smoking habit. What could be the reason we fail so quickly? Often our New Years vows set the bar a tad too high to meet in a year: Loose 50 pounds. Pay off the entire mortgage. Quit smoking.(Eh, on second thought, you could probably manage that last one in less than a 12-month span.)
A study in 2002 by John Norcross, of the University of Scranton and author of Changeology, found, in these annual commendable aspirations, that 25 percent of us can’t even stick with our resolutions for a week, much less a year. 71 percent of us can’t commit past two weeks, leaving the remaining percent a very slim and, indeed, noble few. In a recent interview, Norcross stated through his research he found, “It's not so much the resolution as it is how attainable or realistic the goal is.”
While most of us have likely committed to detoxing, juicing and spinning our way into the New Year, these resolutions seem to be an attempt to want to redeem last year’s mistakes. And, of course, we want it extreme. And we want it now.
We buy into new diet philosophies. We start restricting cleanses. We order insane workout programs (just calling it what it is). We fill up our already hectic schedules, buy into the already billion dollar health industry (explaining much of the state of our current health crisis), and add to our already mounted debt, only to increase an internal anxiety American’s proudly call “drive.” A pursuit to excel in life is certainly healthy (and certainly American). Yet, a pursuit to perfect our lives, especially in the course of one year, can be slightly unnerving on one’s psyche.
Try, as we may, these extreme attempts can hardly wipe our slates clean overnight. But with each new year, we still we find it fitting to commit to desperate measures. Every January 1 our resolutions tend to follow our culture’s evolving, fast-paced, high-demanding patterns; they become increasingly complex through the years.
So whether or not you are a part of the seven-day-successful 25 percent, or the two-week-winning 71 percent, and yes, even you highly-esteemed-successors in the slim percentage left, it’s not too late to reconsider your New Years resolutions and set the patterns for how you will face 2015.
What if you were to choose resolutions more reasonable, a tad more sane? What if you were to choose practicality over intensity? Possibly, quality over quantity? And maybe peace over perfection? It may seem a preposterous idea not to go to bootcamp at 5 AM, and instead set the time aside to read and actually enjoy your coffee in the morning. Or quit that diet you started on January 2 (let’s be honest, no one starts a diet on January 1) and learn to eat real foods you actually enjoy. Or limit how often you go out to eat, shop at the farmers market to save money and cook with the people you love.
This year, rather than nailing down the areas that I want to perfect in myself, I have decided to seek peace of mind, and reorder those things in life necessary to maintain that pursuit. Ideologies of health can be awfully costly and time consuming. In a culture that already battles a borderline obsession with our bodies and the hobby of self, being overly consumed with one’s health or financial status will likely add nothing more to your life this year than stress.
If mental chaos and constant comparison is what you’re after, keep up with those high aimed New Year’s Resolutions you set a week ago. Though, if contentment and richness of life is what you’re after, you may want to reconsider your goals for some unlikely ones, that in the end may have a greater return.
Even in the search for a better life, we must still learn moderation, in all things.