As typical as those who set New Year's Resolutions are those who mock both resolutions and the resolved. When I belonged to the YMCA, I looked down my nose at newbies in January who would be gone before March. I can understand my old contempt, but I’m sympathetic now to the longing of those who set resolutions.
Each January I set goals to spend and eat less. I keep hoping to stick with it through the whole year, but I don't. I go in waves. January and February I’m good but by March, I see an uptick in consumption and my resolve. I go back to it now and again, but not for long. So it goes.
I fail in those resolutions and feel the sting, yet every new year I continue to resolve. This year I joined a gym and have gone there regularly. I’ve cut down on spending. I'm trying to eat better. This morning, lying in bed, I thought of concrete changes to make for the day. I didn't worry about them lasting even into tomorrow. I don't want to spend any money today and I want to eat a couple of servings of vegetables today at work.
I can keep a one-day resolution, right? It's less ambitious than taking something on for the year and quitting it before March. I would rather have success for just a day than suffer defeat for the sake of ambition.
Besides, I have hung onto some resolutions. I'm into the tenth day of a thirty-day challenge to publish daily. It’s just for the month. I can see that far, whereas 365 days is so daunting that I might have given up already.
The urge to change is good even when I lack follow-through. I'm all for the dreams of becoming. Resolutions are good even when I fail. The problem is what happens when I have failed. Dropping into guilt and feeling unworthy, that's no good. I've gone there and it has yet to ever do me any good. There are better ways.
I'm still filled with that desire to become a better man. I'm beginning to understand how to better go about it. Annual resolutions haven't worked out well so I’ll lean on month-long and one-day resolutions to see how they work. I’m learning to take small steps and make short-term plans. Change is built one decision at a time, one day after another, word by word as I live and resolve and write on.