Don't make a New year's resolution for 2012, instead, make a small change in the remaining days of 2011. The word resolve carries with it a lot of passion, definitiveness...and stress. A resolution is a failure waiting to happen. The zeal, the idea that THIS TIME I'm really gonna follow through is flawed logic. Less than a quarter of the people who resolve to change a behavior or reach a goal actually achieve results. But I'd bet that a good portion of those failed resolvers achieved some level of satisfaction. They didn't manage their expectations, and rather than applauding the small steps, castigate themselves for not reaching the finish line.
If you're in the habit of eating a bag of barbecue potato chips after dinner each evening, or enjoy digging into a chocolate cheese muffin with your coffee at two every afternoon (me), is it realistic to expect to lose twenty pounds because you made up your mind that you would? But, it is likely that first week you adopted your resolution, you did lay off the chips, and that is a goal achievement. It's called baby steps. When I wrote my first novel, the question I was asked most was, when did you find the time to write a whole book? My answer was always the same, "I didn't." I sat down and wrote one sentence...then I kept at it.
And that's why your resolution this year should not wait for the grand gesture of January first, an awful and unimaginative date with built-in pitfalls of restlessness. Start tomorrow, or better yet, right now. No trumpets, no fanfare, no announcement--keep it to yourself. Don't think long range, don't wonder if you'll be an improved version of yourself come 2013. Put one foot in front of the other and remember to reward yourself if a week has gone by and you're still at it. Habits are called habits for a reason, and we all love to fall back on the familiar, nestling deeply into our comfort zone, waiting for inspiration or a life altering moment to shake us up.
We're conditioned to respond to BIG moments, piggybacking important decisions or changes onto those moments. Wouldn't most women love a blowout marriage propsal, thirty foot high words, Will You MARRY ME--on the Jumbotron at Times Square? I'm pretty sure, four years into a marriage, most women would happily exchange that one grand moment for a steady stream of thoughtful, gentle gestures from her spouse. The large moment is a show off, an attention getter, think the wizard in the Wizard of Oz.. The BIG birthday, the significant holiday, the graduation, the yearly achievements, they all mark time while great stuff is happening in between and they're being ignored because they're, well, ordinary. Embrace the ordinary, take a tiny step toward the kind of person you want to be. Walk past the chocolate danish (I'm speaking to my weakness, here) and take the steps at the mall or office, rather than the escalator. Baby steps.