Today I looked in horror at the list of “goals” I made last December. There they are in black and white, numbered, a full page in my journal. What was I thinking?!? Exercise three times a week? Well, I did get on the treadmill yesterday. Yes, I had to step on it to reach a box of slides stacked in the corner of my office! Improve my Spanish? Soy loco. Be more relaxed? I’m stressed over the fifteen things on my list of twenty that I did NOT accomplish in 2005. How can I possibly relax? How many days are left? Did you say hours? Oh my goodness! (And you’re sitting there feeling jealous because you just realized I did accomplish five things on my list. No, I’m not telling you which five.)
I’m not sure why we insist on putting ourselves through this torment each year. Most of our resolutions are self-defeating attempts to cure all of our problems in one fell swoop. “I will lose 100 pounds by summer!” “I will quit smoking today!” “I will be healthy!” Such grand ideas. Such nonsense. Real change, real solutions begin with small steps. They begin with sincere desire and motivation. They don’t begin on a specific date.
I’m going to try something different this year. I’ve mentioned before that I have a card posted near my computer that says, “Greatness is achieved when you commit to making even small improvements every day.” Well, this year I’m striving for small changes, small goals, and small accomplishments. There was a time in my life when that would have sounded like failure, or at least a lack of motivation. However, living past fifty has taught me that the human mind and body resist change. If I want to be thinner and healthier or wealthier and wiser, I need to be sneaky about it. I need to make changes so small that my conscious mind doesn’t have a chance to say “hey, hold on just a darn minute!” Studies have shown that if you try to starve your body it will just try harder to store fat. It panics and tries to work more efficiently in order to survive. Our experience tells us that if someone says “You can’t…” we work that much harder to prove to them that we can if we want to!”
This year I’ve decided to have one goal and really stick with it. I’m going to do one thing each day that improves my life or health. I know, I know. I should have included something about world peace or at least something about doing unto others. But you know what? I’ve found that when I’m happy I make others happy! What a concept! (Don’t you just have to laugh at yourself sometimes? I certainly do. I come up with these astonishing “truths” that I’m sure come from the depths of my soul, but when I write them down I immediately recognize them as something I’ve read in my Bible. We humans really aren’t that smart, just well intentioned.)
So anyway, that’s the plan for 2006. Nothing earth shattering. Nothing political. Nothing grandiose. Just day by day changes that hopefully will work their way into my life and routine so subtly and permanently that by the end of the year I won’t have to feel guilty about the long list of things I haven’t done. And just to make sure that I’m not dependent on someone else’s artificial timetable I started today. For lunch I had grape tomatoes with my ham sandwich instead of eating chips.
I said small changes!
Did you think I was kidding?
Happy New Year everyone!