For most of my life, I thought New Years Resolutions were basically stupid: An arbitrary time to start something is also a way of delaying decisions (as in, I don’t have to worry about my diet until Jan 2.) So most of my life I eschewed making any resolution. But about 13 or 14 years ago I had an idea that maybe it wasn’t the timing of the resolution but the resolutions themselves that were the problem. Maybe I set myself up for failure by setting the bar too high. So that year I set what I thought was a simple resolution: I would cook more and eat out less. At the time I was basically living off take-out food and instant/frozen meals so to cook any meals would be an automatic improvement. I started by concentrating on one meal a week and don’t think I really got started until the end of February but eventually made some progress. It was going well so I went to two meals a week. Over time I was cooking more often than not and without really thinking about New Years or resolutions. The next New Year I was surprised at how much progress I had made and decided to go to the next level: Make an add on resolution.
Year Two I resolved to lose 20 lbs. Twenty pounds in a year doesn’t sound like much, especially since I frequently lose, re-gain, and re-lose hundreds of pounds every year, but by making it an official, written down resolution seemed different. This time I didn’t really do anything until July, when I joined Weight Watchers (for the 5th or hundredth time). Something clicked and I lost somewhere around 50 lbs between July and Christmas. That was a bit scary because I now met my resolutions two years in a row. What would I do Year Three?
At this point I was feeling pretty cocky about my weight loss so I went for a big one: I wanted to lose another 50 (for a grand total of 100 pounds.) It must have been a good time in my life because once again I stuck to my diet. I weight-watchered my little butt off (literally) and either got close to or surpassed my goal- I don’t remember exactly.
Year Four my goal was to maintain my weight loss. That, at first, was easier than I expected so when I got to Year Five, I thought I would choose another area of my life – I would work on developing a relationship, something I had never but much effort into. Maybe I should have stuck to dieting. I met a man who I thought was a dream come true, but as most readers could guess, he was actually a nightmare in disguise. I won’t bore you with the gory details but over the next few years I didn’t make any new resolutions and felt all my dreams and goals die. (insert maudlin music here). In fact, for the past three Christmas/New Years, I barely acknowledged the season was passing and would have skipped it all together, except I have a child who no longer believes in Santa Claus, but still expects some seasonal traditions to be observed.
But this year things are a little different. I feel myself getting stronger again… something I had predicted would never happen, and am starting to get back a little of the fire of my youth. I want to be empowered again. I want to be stronger again. Having said that, I’m looking towards this New Years as a way to bring my former power and luck to the forefront again. I’m not sure what my “official resolution” will be yet, but I want it to be something I can do and something I want to do. Something that is meaningful to me and will make me feel better.
I only have 15 days to figure it out. No pressure. 🙂