Resolution or Resignation? It's All About Commitment

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Did you make any resolutions for the New Year? How are you doing so far? I normally don’t make resolutions, because I don’t like being reminded halfway through January that I already failed. But this year I did. They’re personal, and mostly related to my mindset and outlook. And, I’ve decided that 32 years after leaving the Navy, it’s time to stop talking like a sailor. Okay, I had good intentions.

Resolutions are simply a new start. Doing something we want to start doing or dropping habits that no longer fit who we want to be. It’s about change and moving forward. Out with the old, in with the new. It’s the start of a journey toward a better version of ourselves, something we aspire to be. It’s a dream. But the moment we resolve to make it happen, we commit ourselves to that dream.

According to some sources, as many as 80% of us will fail to achieve our New Year’s resolutions. Why? I guess there are a lot of reasons, and I won’t go into them here. But the main underlying cause is that we just lack the commitment. We want to make a change. We know we should make that change. But at the end of the day, it’s just a little more trouble than it’s worth. Old habits die hard.

And nobody wants to admit they lack commitment, especially when we make that commitment to ourselves. We know deep down that we can accomplish anything if we just set our mind to it, but it’s hard to fully commit to something when deep down we’re not sure we want to do it. We want the result – just not the work that goes into it.

So, we make a half-hearted resolution that sounds something like this … “I need to lose some weight this year. I probably won’t be as skinny as I’d like, and I’m not giving up any of my favorite foods, but I’ll see if I can eat a little less and maybe exercise once or twice a week.” Sound familiar?

If you read that “resolution” again closely, you’ll see it’s full of everything except commitment. “I need to” … “I’ll probably come up short” … “I’m not giving up any of this” … “I’ll see if I can” … and “maybe”.  It’s just a lot of words, mixed in with a few excuses and an overall prediction of failure. If somebody said that to you, would you put any money on their chances of success?

Another reason we fail at resolutions is because we lack belief. Oh, we know it’s possible. Just not probable.  Before we even start, we put our success in the hands of fate. “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.” That’s a nice sentiment if you don’t have any desire to influence the outcome of your own life. Instead of hoping for a miracle, how about creating one of your own?

It takes 21 days to change a habit. That doesn’t mean you can completely drop a habit in three weeks or form a new one. It means that if you keep repeating the same behavior for three weeks, it begins to fit into your comfort zone. It still takes a little willpower to stay on track, but in that short period of time, it starts to feel more natural. It’s becoming more a part of who you are.

And the easiest way to get through 21 days is one day at a time. When I quit smoking, I never once said “I’ll never smoke again.” I simply said, “I won’t smoke today.” That simple substitution of words made all the difference in the world. You can do anything for a day. And if you did it yesterday, you can do it again today. And tomorrow and the next day. One day at a time.

And if you happen to fall down, it’s only one day. You don’t have to start all over. Just pick up where you left off and get back on track. Strengthen your commitment. Write a short list of the reasons you made this decision in the first place and read it every morning until the urge to fall off the wagon starts to fade. If you can do it for a day, you can do it for life.

Change is hard, but it’s a necessary part of growth. As you envision the changes you’d like to make, don’t focus on the change itself but the end result. See yourself as the person you want to be. Reaffirm your ability to attain that goal every day. Believe in yourself, and anything is possible. Combine that belief with commitment and it becomes inevitable.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

How's Your "Year in Review"?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I’ve missed you folks these past few days. I’d like to say it was an intentional hiatus. I could tell you it was because of the holidays. You know, I was so busy wrapping gifts and recovering from a night of reveling. I could blame it on an old war injury if I’d actually been in a war. But the truth is, I’ve just been sick. Yes, I know. I never get sick. I even told my body that. It talked back.

Last night was the first time in eight nights that I’ve slept without waking up coughing. We’re talking the kind of coughing that wakes up the whole house and brings up stuff that would give a catfish the dry heaves. By the time morning came, I was just in a complete fog. My writing at that point wouldn’t have been any better than my driving. Just ask anybody who was on the road with me.

Thanks to a combination of antibiotics, cough medicine, Earl Grey tea, and a little bourbon (it’s Mom’s old recipe), I’m on the road to recovery. I can’t carry a bath towel up the stairs without wheezing, but I’m getting there. Maybe that’s because, in addition to the bath towel, I have to carry this belly up the stairs as well. But I’d rather blame it on the towel. Don’t argue with me. It’s my story.

The new year is nearly upon us. Turn on the news, and there’s a “year in review” story on nearly every channel. Disasters of 2019. Celebrity losses in 2019. Heroes of 2019. Tweets of 2019. Okay, I made that last one up. We all know it would take all of 2020 to recap that one. But you get the idea. It’s a time of year when we reflect on all that’s happened in the past year.

And, if you watch any of those segments, you find yourself thinking, “That was this year???” Time has a way of disguising itself, along with a lot of the emotion and details of the events it encompasses. You know, like those New Year’s resolutions we made. “That was this year???” There’s a reason we don’t write those things down. We don’t want to be reminded how incredibly naïve we really are.

We also don’t like to be reminded of things left undone. You know, like the baseboard trim in my living room … from the reflooring job I did with my own two hands. It looks incredible. It’s hard to believe it’s held up so well over the years. Fourteen years to be exact. And it’s not that I couldn’t afford the trim. It’s been sitting in my garage acclimating to the ambient humidity. For fourteen years.

By noon tomorrow, I’ll be at least temporarily unemployed. My bosses have decided I did such a good job they no longer need me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So, while I wait for something else to open up, I have to sit around the house and be reminded of all the things I never got around to. That’s my punishment for being so good on the job. Woe is me.

Funny, I haven’t even posted this yet and I can already hear some of you chuckling in agreement. The fact is, we all have things we’ve meant to get around to and just never did it. Maybe not big things, and maybe not something as simple as baseboard trim that’s been collecting dust for over a decade. But life just gets in the way, and it seems some things never get done.

That’s why we need to prioritize. What’s most important to you? Make a list of things you’d like to get done, and then decide which ones need to be done first. But don’t set aside the ones that are just for you. Those are important as well. How important? Only you can answer that. If it’s something you can do a little at a time, get started. You may not get it all done this year. But think how much closer you’ll be.

I’ve often said my weight loss journey is a victim of my own impatience. The doctor says lose one pound a week, and I say at that rate, it’ll take me two years. Well, guess what? If I’d started two years ago, I’d be there.

It’s that way with most of the things you’d like to accomplish. Do what you can – a little here and a little there. It may take a while, but maybe your 2020 “year in review” will have a few more wins. And then just think of the fun you can have in 2021.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved