As I browse through my Facebook feed I cannot help but to notice the massive amount of posts regarding “New Years Resolutions”. I get it. I mean, I do not practice them myself, but I get it. For some reason we have been taught that as the calendar year comes to a close and a new one begins, we are somehow absolved from our nonsense over the last 365 days and are somehow given a clean slate for the next 365 days. That and we are also somehow obligated to set these goals that we have a whole 12 months to accomplish.
I guess I find it humorous. I mean, how awesome would it be if you really did have a clean slate at the beginning of each year. Prisons emptied out, credit card debt wiped clear, drunk text messages erased, and regretful sexual encounters forgotten…all because it is January 1st. And to top it off, we have a year to to get our shit together! That is the equivalent of being told you have the option to complete a homework assignment over the next year, but if you don’t get it done it is alright because if you don’t get it, you have next year. A procrastinator’s wet dream.
However, the reality of it is that there is no clean slate. On New Years Day our prisons will still be full, your bills will still be due sometime before the 20th, your ex will still have that picture message of you standing naked in the mirror with text reading “you gave up all of this”, and you should probably still make that appointment down at the free clinic because although the cashier down at your local grocer you went home with last week “looked safe”, they were a little too experienced for you to be their “3rd partner”, and you can never be too sure.
I guess what I am trying to say is, it does not have to be this way. What you did this past year has made you who you are today. Whether you like that person or not, it is who you are and the best thing you can do is that just for today find a reason to be proud of yourself because you are the only person that has to wake up with you every day for the rest of your life. We spend so much time trying tofind the right person to spend the rest of our lives with, we forget that we already have someone, it is us. Find lessons in your mistakes, find character in your flaws, and find hope in your defects.
As far as goals are concerned, set the bar a little lower for crying out loud. Do not give yourself 365 days to get your shit completely together. That is is giving yourself 364 days to say “maybe tomorrow”. Set daily goals. If I have learned one thing in my recovery from drugs and alcohol it is that that “one day at a time” stuff really works. And sometimes depending on how bad things are, one hour at a time can be just as big a victory as a day and a even a year. Let’s face it, without days, hours, minutes, and seconds, a year would just be a word.
Instead of getting back into the gym this year, try going to the gym today. As opposed to losing 40 pounds this year, try eating a salad today and drinking 8 cups of water instead of going to Starbucks and Jack in the Box. If someone has been a prick to you the last year or you have been in a relationship with someone who you clearly are sick of, don’t wait until you “have had enough” for the umpteenth time, kick them to the curb today. In lieu of 26 Acts of kindness and turning back into a complete asshole once you are done, try doing 3 nice things for people you do not know today. And be good about it, don’t go telling the world about how you bought a homeless guy lunch out of the goodness of your heart because there is nothing more prideful and douche-bag-like than doing something “out of the kindness of your heart” and then boasting about it.
To put a more personal touch on it, I can tell you what I do. Today I will not use drugs or drink alcohol. Everyday for the rest of the year would be nice, but for now today is just fine and I will worry about tomorrow when it gets here. I want to be a better husband and father than I was yesterday. How can I do this? There are a thousand things I could have done or said to my wife yesterday but didn’t, so I will do some of them today. I could have spent a little more time showing my daughter what happens when she runs on the couch instead of just telling her “no, I am not trying to go to hospital when you fall off.” I want to talk to my siblings who live out of state more often. I will give them a call today instead of sending them a text message.
It is things like this that can take your repeatedly failed New Year resolutions and your less than triumphant quest for self improvement, and turn it into a daily, reachable, realistic goal. Give it a try. I apologize if this comes off as self righteous, but I feel like I have found gold with this and since you all who read and like what you read or don’t like what you read have given me more than you will ever know, I feel it is only right to give something back.
So instead of taking January 1st as a time to reflect on the last 365 days and dwell on what you can do in the next 365, take the time to reflect on the now and what you can do today. Do not worry about where you will be come January 1 of the following year, just worry about where you will be when you lay your head down to sleep tonight or tomorrow morning. Ask yourself “what did I do today to make me happy to be me?”, “what could I have done differently?”, and then bank these thoughts and carry them with you into tomorrow. This is us here at ranSACked saying thanks for sticking with us this these last 365, thanks for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you all again this year. Happy New Year everybody, but more importantly…Happy New Day.
If you still feel like a New Year resolution is in order, then I offer you this small piece of advice. The best way to reach your resolution, is to not set one.
Be safe out there, don’t drink and drive, please use protection, don’t be afraid to check her ID fellas, and for the love of all that is good in the world, don’t be stupid.