Turn Resolutions into Possibilities

As the New Year approaches and everyone looks at their personal version of “out with the old and in with the new” we naturally begin to consider resolutions.  I can’t explain the craving for change at this time of the year, but concepts like Father Time being replaced with the New Year’s baby are symbolic of our desire to start something fresh.  It can be as simple as “eat less, exercise more” or a complex collection of plans and directions on re-creating the life you want to live.

Different things work for different people, but in my experience a new and improved you, or at least a perception of what makes a new and improved you, is often temporary change that leads to frustration and even a bit of self-dislike.  Yuk to that.  So what is the answer?  A little bad news here — there isn’t one.  At least not a “one that works for everyone” answer.   But in my humble opinion, I can at least offer some tips that set the stage for my past resolution yipees:

Accept your imperfections:  See the beauty and vitality in the body that you reside inLet me reiterate that one: Love thyself, my friendThis is my most important point.  Only after we find peace with things we cannot change can we focus on the ones we have the power to change. Don’t set your sights on super skinny thighs if your German genetics gave some beautiful depth in the hips. Heck, we can always find some great Athleta gear that flatters our figure.  Instead, choose to love what you are born with and enrich it with the best food and yoga possible.  Sashay that German beauty with pride.

Don’t record a list, record your catalyst:  Change is temporary unless you have a catalyst.  You need to understand the desire behind the change.  My resolutions prior to 2009 were frivolous and therefore never achieved.  There was very little inspiration behind them.  Then in August of that year I got cancer.  Suddenly I was catapulted into a world of crazy.  Talk about a motivation for healthy living!  I developed a new found passion for yoga, juicing, kale, and quinoa.  I stopped drinking coffee.  The good news?  You don’t have to have a cancer catalyst.  Just have a “Dang, I feel better when I eat kale” catalyst.  “I like to feel better.  I’ll eat more kale.”

It’s not set in stone:  Over the years I always recorded my resolutions.  At the end of the year when I would flip back to my New Year’s journal entry I would almost always be either disappointed or at least have a pretty good “what was I thinking” laugh.  One year it was “Learn to Golf.”  The clubs my husband subsequently bought me for the following Mother’s Day are very nice, but to this day tucked away in a corner of our garage collecting several years’ worth of dust.  It’s become a bit of a joke in our family home.  Two years ago I changed the word resolutions to possibilities.  Since then it’s more about what is really important to me. (I never really wanted to learn how to golf anyway, so what is the point of that being a possibility?)  And the idea of something as possible conjures up so much more positivity in my word-loving brain.  Just a small concept, but it really worked for me. The possibilities that don’t morph into reality throughout the course of the year are possibilities to be re-evaluated for the next.   Which brings me to my next point…

If at first you don’t succeedMama was right when she said it.   The beauty of a new year, a new you, is that it is OK to slip.  Give yourself lots of second chances.  If you wanted to cut back on sugar and you indulged on a few too many Christmas cookies, write down your plan of action for the next week so that you can stay on track.  Experts say it takes seven days for your body to stop craving something.  Prepare yourself with seven days of healthy foods in the fridge that take the place of sugary snacks.  You have armed yourself for the fight!  Stay strong sister!

Bottom line:  Make this work for you.  Are you a visionary?  Create a vision board.  A writer?  Write it down with a really pretty colored pen that makes you happy.  Heck, I think you artists out there can even sculpt your resolutions.  Record your motivation and re-set your mindsetYou can make it happen.

mary beth

December 30, 2011 at 5:27 am

Amy..you have re-framed my thinking…no resolutions, possibilities! My personal motto has always been “forgive yourself”…and you just reaffirmed that for me!


December 30, 2011 at 5:35 am

This is exactly what I needed to read today. I also think there is power in ritual that helps set intentions so you may want to include that in your preparation for the year. Thanks for the article!


December 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

The words are so empowering and they could not have come at a better time in my life! Thanks for sharing this post and catalyst with the world

Very best,

Jody - Fit at 54

December 30, 2011 at 11:03 am

LOVE this post!!! I don’t make resolutions but set out to accomplish certain things BUT I do allow for change. We never know what life will bring so nothing is set in stone for me.

Thx for a great post!

Kristi from Houston, TX

January 03, 2012 at 10:34 am

Really great post. It’s funny, but I was struggling with my resolutions and which one to pick as my ultimate one. None of them were right. And then, I was just like whatever. I finally decided after losing the second digital camera for the year, I’m going to get back to organizing my life. This will include work and at home. I need to get back to the way I used to be before I let myself just…go. So, it’s not a resolution, it’s a goal (which to me is stronger, as well). I got a new camera, so it’s possible that I will reach my goal of not losing it this year. Oh…and start with short goals.

I would like to add that I quit smoking right around New Years of 2008. However, I said that I wouldn’t quit on NWD, because I was on vacation and eating, drinking and living up life to the fullest. I said I would quit when I got home and I did.


January 04, 2012 at 6:44 am

Exactly!!!!! I had a list of 25 resolutions/goals for 2011. I met 2 of the 25. This year is a simple 7. I will call them my Magnificent 7. They range from the ever popular (and recurring-lol) lose weight and adopt a healthy eating plan to reading a couple of works of literature like Middlemarch to invite less crap into my life and favor more substance and worth.
2012 feels like a banner year and lets take it with both hands.


January 07, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Awesome website – I had no idea there was this much information – Perfect, especially for this time of year – renewal!

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