It was the perfect day to make New Year’s Resolutions: New Year’s Day. All over the world, people were vowing to be more patient parents, to get fit, lose weight, visit their mothers more, be a better friend, save for a house, spend less on shoes, save up for a holiday, take up archery, learn to paddleboard. The New Year’s resolutions’ list goes on and on.
Why do we make resolutions? Well, there is something glorious about the ability to decide to change your life, even if in a small way – for example, to give up eating crisps or to drink less alcohol – whatever your bête noire might be. You feel so enthusiastic. You’re going to do it. Nothing will stop you. You see it so clearly.
Making New Year’s Resolutions is Marvellous
This morning I just knew that I was going to walk every day, walk further and make walking into a far more positive experience. I saw myself doing it, marching resolutely down the years as well as down the long paths of health. One of my perfect New Year’s resolutions.
What actually happened? I did half a yoga class on zoom, then went back to bed for most of the rest of the day. I didn’t even stick my nose out of the door! I only walked from the kitchen to the bathroom and then to the bedroom.
I hadn’t even made the average time of one week before breaking the resolution of walking every day.
The Big But …
Why is it that there is always a big but about something you tell yourself you want to do?
After all, most of us take two seconds to decide to lose weight or get fit or go out more. They are each valid and worthy goals. We really, really want to achieve them. That’s why we set ourselves the same goals every time. So, it should be easy. We know how to do it.
And that is when the butting begins. The demented old goat at the back of your brain, keeps saying it.
‘But I don’t want to go out, it’s raining.’
‘But I can’t go now because it’s too early.’
‘But I can’t go after work because, because …….’
Well, I’m sure you can supply loads of excuses why you can’t go for a walk in the early evening. I could probably do with a few extra excuses as I’ve already used so many of them. All suggestions for excuses gratefully received!
Trying to Get the Butt out of the Door
Just why is it so extraordinarily hard to get your butt out of the door when it comes to exercise or something else that falls into the healthy category?
I’ve heard that it could be about conservation of energy. You know, we need to keep some energy for when we’re attacked in the kitchen by massive doses of lethargy (or was it a dinosaur?). It’s a terrible affliction that only strikes when you mention the word ‘healthy’. As in ‘shall we cook a healthy meal?’ That brings on a bad attack of the buts.
There are some quick cures. After all, if you were going to pick up a pizza or drape yourself over the new wine bar, it would all happen so fast. Your butt would be out of the door before the old goat had time to fit in a single but!
Let’s Forget Goats and Move on to Skinning Cats
Somehow, we’ve got to give up the buts and find another way of skinning the cat.
Yes, gone are the ifs and buts, we’re going to do something different this time. But, even skinning a cat means undertaking a lot of complicated and difficult actions. It’s enough to undermine anyone’s resolution to do something different this time. So how about letting the cat out of the bag?
Action is the key. Now, how can we transform our excuses into actions that don’t undermine that New Year’s resolution?
Your Superpower: Turning Excuses into Bolsters for New Year’s Resolutions
Remember what my original resolution was about? It was about going walking, resolving to walk every day. Ok – want a pizza? You can have one – if you walk to the pizza shop to get it.
You decided you’re going to fit in your walking before your normal day’s routine begins? Then tell yourself that work begins thirty eight minutes earlier so that you have thirty minutes to exercise when you get there (maybe you even walk there) and eight minutes to change your shoes.
The thing is to take that excuse, put it in the bag with the cat to fight it out and then take the cat out. The excuse remains behind.
Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions into Action Stations
Now it’s your turn. What were your New Year’s Resolutions on that most celebratory of days: New Year’s Day?
If you can remember, ask yourself whether you have kept your resolution. Yes? Bravo, you’re the resolution King or Queen. But if you’re a ‘No’, then don’t despair.
It’s time to bring in your inner superpower. Think of all your excuses and turn them over to the cat to soften you up. Too big? Give them to the goat for some butting! I’m sure the goat will be delighted to eat them for breakfast.
Then go put your New Year’s resolutions into action and have a gloriously and resolutely happy year.
PS: I would just like to state that no animals were harmed in the writing of this article. The goats enjoyed delivering big buts as usual. I’m happy to say that after the cats were let out of the bag, they were in no danger of being skinned.
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