2006: Resolved-I will no longer make New Year's Resolutions.
2011: Still keeping that 5 years old resolution.
Like many people, I used to make resolutions every January 1. Lose weight, read more, plant a garden...all my resolutions mimicked everyone else's. Generally, by mid-February, the resolutions were forgotten, with a twinge of guilt now and then to remind me that I had resolved something or other.
Finally, I had enough, and made one last resolution: no more resolutions. That one I have kept for five years.
Of course I understand the purpose of January resolutions, but I have come to believe that they are more of a tradition or a habit or a joke. It is important to reflect on the past. It is critical to greate goals. It is vital to plan for the future. What is not necessary is doing it on January 1.
I prefer to work in smaller increments. As a teacher, the school year is a better test of my will. I make plans for each semester, plus breaks, and the summer. As a result I have succeeded in those things that were once resolutions. Fitness level improved? Check (four half-marathons in 2010 is a pretty good indicator of healthy living.) Personal expression shared? Check (my first art show and 100 blog posts in my "regular" blog marked 2010's achievements.) Improved performance at work? Check (new tutoring students and a growth in photo sittings helped a great deal with Christmas gifts in 2010.)
I take a few minutes each week to lay out the plan. Once a month I review my progress. September and May are my deep and introspective markers. It works for me.
When I arrive at the gym in late February and see a row of empty treadmills, I'll be reassured that New Year's Resolutions are really wishes, and that true change comes with diligence, determination, and dedication all year long.