New Year’s Resolutions? Try Stepping Stones.
It’s that time of year where we all make our declarations of bettering ourselves in one way or another. One of the most popular resolutions around is getting in shape and getting healthy. This is a resolution I have made in the past. More than once. I don’t make this a New Year’s resolution anymore. I’m not discouraging anyone from wanting that to be their resolution, but I will be discussing the idea of a New Year’s resolution in further detail.
Studies have shown that most who make resolutions in general fail at sticking with them by the month of February. This doesn’t automatically classify you as someone who won’t stick with a resolution. In my opinion, and feel free to disagree with me, it feels as if the concept of resolutions makes us want to declare something life-changing without much forethought.
One thing my college counselor told me that still sticks with me is that any achievement in life comes from the result of steps we take to reach our end goal. He called these “stepping stones”. Whatever we want to accomplish in the long run requires stepping stones. These stepping stones help in breaking down a goal (or resolution) into easy to follow steps. A repeated goal of mine was losing weight, but I set myself to the expectation of ‘I will lose weight’ without thinking about steps I would have to create personally to achieve my goal.
For example, I once said I wanted to reach a goal weight of 140 pounds (a healthy weight for me). I had gym class and packed good lunches, so I assumed I would be okay. Once I no longer had a routine, had more free time, and lunches I didn’t have to make, then I began slipping into old habits. I lacked any afterthought as to what would happen once I no longer had regular physical activity keeping me active. Now, I face a new challenge. My job is mostly sedentary, there are occasions where donuts are brought in, and we sometimes have company luncheons. Because there are temptations, I need to find a plan that works personally for me and apply it. It doesn’t have to be a New Year’s resolution, but a personal goal for myself.
Do I make resolutions? Not really. I have goals for myself year round that I don’t decide to start on a certain day of the year. It seems easier to me. I still have a goal to be healthy, and I know I am…to a certain degree. I can always improve no matter what time of the year it is. The same can be said for anyone.
People can want to change themselves as much as they want. What makes this change happen is the action of stopping yourself from regressing back into bad patterns and feeling bad about it as if it makes it okay. You have to want to need to feel and be better. This is not just a one day or one year plan. This is something that is constant. It will most likely take more than one try, but things we desire deep down are never easy to accomplish in one try.
My personal advice is to start small. Use the stepping stone method to build into a goal you want to accomplish. If you want to run more, start walking to build endurance. If you want to make new friends, try joining a club or saying hi to someone you don’t know. The main point is to start small before going big.
It’s perfectly fine to not have some big end goal and it’s not unusual to not even have a resolution. You shouldn’t feel coerced into finding a cure-all solution to whatever might be facing you. Good things happen to those willing to put the time and effort into something worth sticking with. If you’re not ready, that’s fine too. All I can say is that once you remove the pressure to join everyone on (and possibly off) the Resolution Bandwagon, the desire for self-improvement becomes more attainable and powerful to YOU.
Let your goal (or resolution) for the upcoming year (or now if you want) to know yourself. Only you know what’s best for you.
Written by an Empowerteen Creative Writer Student Intern:
Idalis Nieves (2018 Linfield College Graduate, Creative Writing Major)
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