By Courtney Clark
If you’re planning to make some new year’s resolutions this week, you probably expect to stick to them.
Resolutions can be motivating and help you reach your goals. But there’s one big mistake I’ve seen lots of people make when it comes to setting new year’s resolutions, and it means your resolution is definitely going to fail.
You Don’t Become Someone Else On January 1st
One of my dear friends loves picking up new hobbies. Every year or so she learns another skills or takes up a hobby with plans to become a master. One year, she set her sights on yoga.
“I’ve been so stressed,” she said. “I’ve done some yoga, and it makes me feel more peaceful. I think I should take yoga teacher training and become a full-time yogi. If I did that, then I’ll be able to live a more peaceful life.”
I call it the Fairy Godmother Fantasy – the hope that you could wave a magic wand and turn into someone else. Often when we set our new year’s resolutions, we’re really wishing we could just become someone else. If I could just lose the weight, then I would be a healthy person. If I could just finish my degree, then I would be a confident person.
If your new years resolution doesn’t bear any resemblance to who you are right now, it’s not a good resolution. It’s probably going to leave you frustrated.
If Cancer Can’t Do It, New Year’s Day Can’t, Either
I thought cancer might make me a different person. But it didn’t. Neither did a brain aneurysm. I have a greater appreciation for life, sure. But I’m still the same person I was before.
If I’M still the same person at my core, even after writing my own funeral service and sealing it in an envelope in my bedside table, just in case, then the calendar turning over to January 1st isn’t probably going to magically make you a different person, either.
And in reality, it shouldn’t. In many of the conversations I’ve had with my friends in the cancer world, we’ve talked a lot about whether cancer has changed us. Even my friends who found out their cancer was terminal reported that the news didn’t completely change who they were.
My friend Becky said it best:
“Heck, I’m already getting a lot less time than I wanted, to be me on this planet. Why would I want to stop being me any sooner than I have to?”
“You-but-better” is a cliché you’re probably sick of hearing. Sadly, you-but-better is probably the right path forward. You can’t wave a magic wand and become a different person on January 1st. You can’t immediately become a more peaceful person just by taking up yoga. You can’t become a naturally healthy person by dropping a few pounds or quitting smoking.
You can change your habits, but no habit-change will make your life completely different. By setting realistic expectations, you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration come April.
This January 1st, listen to Becky. Don’t spend your time on this planet trying to be someone else.
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