We’re all creators of almost-standard replies that sound like “This year is the year I will lose 50 pounds of weight!” Or “From January 1st I will stop smoking for good!”
We, as a human race with brains almost-able to create and abolish behaviors if we so want to, seem overly preoccupied with resolutions, especially those that should begin on January 1st. It’s three days to Christmas, nine to New Year’s Day and the internet is already buzzing with many, many web pages telling us how to stick to them.
Ψ Drink Less Alcohol
Ψ Eat Healthy Food
Ψ Get a Better Education
Ψ Get a Better Job
Ψ Get Fit
Ψ Lose Weight
Ψ Manage Debt
Ψ Manage Stress
Ψ Quit Smoking
Ψ Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Ψ Save Money
Ψ Take a Trip
Ψ Volunteer to Help Others
Ψ Lose Weight and Get Fit
Ψ Quit Smoking
Ψ Learn Something New
Ψ Eat Healthier and Diet
Ψ Get Out of Debt and Save Money
Ψ Spend More Time with Family
Ψ Travel to New Places
Ψ Be Less Stressed
Ψ Drink Less
If you balance both lists against each other, the most common resolutions versus the most broken ones, then you get a very, very, very short list of resolutions that survive past February 1st.
Getting a better education and/or job and reduce, reuse, and recycle remain popular and mostly unbroken, while the least commonly broken resolutions are learning something new and spending more time with family.
Yeah… right. Not cool in my book.
Trying to accomplish all of the above seems mighty tiring to me. Just the sight of it makes me want to crawl back in my den and sleep for a good while.
I gave up making New Year’s resolutions for the mere fact that something always messes up my good intentions. How’s that for a silly excuse?!
Family parties to go to where you will eat cake until you can no more…
Someone in your group of friends teases you over that fine line between yes and no…
Will I, won’t I?
It’s not an essay question however, so why do we keep inventing reasons to fall back into old habits? I definitely know that once I see a tiny cone of ice cream, there’s the possibility I might be sold. But here’s a cool stat: I have to be fair to myself too… In 2013 I started mastering the “No, you don’t need that bit of ice cream to make your day!” There will be further breakage of the ice cream link in 2014, so I will be able to sell you an iceberg of guilt in vanilla taste when the break is final.
I cannot for the love of god remember where I read that people’s endorphins get a kick-start from telling others about our intentions and resolutions. However, getting the same hit after performing our resolutions is a different matter altogether.
We live in exciting times, we seek to live as much as we can and as well as we want to. Even so, with everything we have to deal with from day to day, our brain remains the least discovered item in the human body.
Why? The human brain is an odd thing. It will take more years of researching brains and looking for psychological, physiological as well as environmental reasons why we do the things we do and make and/or give up so easily on words we promised to keep.
The founders of psychology could just nitpick and try and observe everything, and by this I really mean everything. The brain and the mind were an empty canvas, with just a couple of Egyptians and Ancient Greeks dabbling in medicine, philosophy and psychology. They never mentioned New Year’s resolutions though.
From the beginning of the Ebers papyrus inc. 1550 BCE in Egypt to Hippocrates and Plato in c. 480 BCE in Greece and from Wilhelm Wundt and Sigmund Freud in 1870-1880 in Germany and Austria, many people have dedicated themselves to examining the mind and beyond. How Sigmund Freud must have felt discovering psychoanalysis, or how Abraham Maslow felt about his hierarchy of needs!
If we – and just as importantly, I – want to keep resolutions going, I need to set achievable goals. I presume to tell myself to weigh 100 pounds by December 31st, 2014 is way over the top, ridiculous even. The direction I intend to go about it is to move more, nourish myself better and track my accomplishments. Maybe I’ll even include others to help me stay on track.
Yeah… right. Let’s see how that goes.
I do question though who we want to make resolutions for. Do we do so for ourselves or to be in step with others in our environment?
Maybe just for the fun of it, I’ll make some bizarre, extreme resolutions like reading less books, get married or run a marathon on my hands and knees, backwards and with air bags tied to my tail. Be silly, just for the fun of it. Who’s with me on that?! After all, isn’t that what resolutions are about?
If you’re interested in statistics about New Year’s resolutions, please visit this website: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
To accomplish your resolutions, please check this website: http://www.wikihow.com/Accomplish-Your-New-Year%27s-Resolutions and http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resolution.aspx
For ideas, check this link: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-new-years-resolutions/
©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.