Thursday, December 29, 2011

I resolve to (fill in the blank).

At this time of year, it’s hard to avoid at least thinking about new year’s resolutions. Friends will undoubtedly ask, or you’ll see articles in print or online about how to make resolutions that last, such as this article in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune

Percentages vary, but according to many articles and sites, the vast majority of people who make resolutions don't keep them.  Why do so many of us give up or fail, when most of us know we could make changes to improve or enhance our lives? From changing jobs or careers, losing weight and/or exercising more stopping smoking, saving more/spending less or even frittering less time on Facebook and the Internet, there’s very likely at least one thing we think will make us happier and/or more productive.

If we say we want to change, why don’t we? Because the grooves of our habits are so engrained? Or perhaps because eating fattening desserts or trolling online are fun. Discipline and self-control, or maybe the learning curve and time needed to fulfill the resolution, not so much. On the other hand, the expectation of accomplishment after doing what we say we will, getting something off our plate that’s been hanging over our heads, not procrastinating or getting into our skinny jeans could motivate us to stay on the wagon. Of not letting ourselves down and self-sabotaging our success in not only keeping the resolution but the ripple effect in other areas of our lives.

For example, many actors I know rely on agents to get them work. They say they’ll do more self-marketing to get their name out there and find other opportunities, but either don’t or only make one attempt. They may do a few online auditions. But in my experience, most don’t keep at it, nor do they follow up. If no bookings result from that effort, they feel defeated and give up. A job hunter may be waylaid by a bad interview or a few rejections. A dieter may consider her entire diet blown if she eats one piece of cheesecake.

Who said achieving our goals would be easy?  That life was fair? That we wouldn’t work hard, stumble, need to dust ourselves off and keep moving forward?

Consider the alternatives.

It’s up to us to make the most of our lives, even if sometimes we have to make lemonade out of lemons or push ourselves. Giving in to our every whim, want or desire may be fun at the moment, but can lead to feelings of guilt, lower self-esteem and dissatisfaction, which may further the downward spiral that leaves some of us with extra pounds, credit card debt, missed deadlines, etc.

Make yours a Happy New Year.

No comments: