The end of the year usually passes in a frantic haze of holiday parties, an assortment of relatives seen only once a year, along with a varied buffet of delicious snacks. Not exactly the correct atmosphere for reflection on the passing year. New Year Eve’s parties sparkle with gaiety and high spirits of too much alcohol consumed. While the New Year dawns without a trumpet roar.
My grandmother told me a story about how her sister stayed awake to watch as the 20th century dawned. She expected something grand and glorious. Unfortunately, it kept raining. Too wet even for fireworks. New Years are amazing unsoiled creations. Before the year even happens, we catalogue all the bad habits we’ll stop, from overspending to overeating, and suddenly the New Year arrives creeping in without much fanfare and most of us without a plan how to achieve our grand expectations.
Many people joke that resolutions are to be broken. They aren’t. Their purpose is to motivate us, but making crazy ones will never work. Our gym had a New Year’s Open House with potential members crowding the place. The regular members joked that most will be gone by February. Some tough it out through March. What is the difference between regular gym members and the hopeful newbie? The same thing that makes resolutions workable.
1. Set a specific realistic goal. My goal might be to go to the gym three times a week. It is certainly a great deal better than declaring I’ll be a size zero in 2015, when I’ve never been a size zero, except maybe as a baby.
2. Pick out only three goals. It is hard to motivate yourself with a laundry list of things to do. It’s almost a guarantee to fail. Once you accomplish your three goals, you can set other ones.
3. Share your goals. Once you tell people, you feel more obligated to try since you’re aware other people are watching you.
4. Don’t give up because of a missed step. Often people vowing to eat healthy think the whole deal is lost with the first chocolate bar. It isn’t. You start gaining with the next bad choice.
5. Realize the progress you do make even if it isn’t within your fantasy timeline.
6. Sometimes, we set goals that are too lofty. Scale back, it’s okay.
7. Visualize your goal first. The power of the mind will help you find the tools you need to make the goal yours.
8. Relax. Seriously, relax, because you are well on your way to achieving your dreams.
On the Reflective side, a poem
Putting Christmas Away
Tissue paper wrapped around the delicate glass angel
Prepares her for the annual yearlong interment
Deep in the closet under the stairs.
The yuletide season has drawn to a close.
The tree, which went up with laughter and shouts of encouragement,
Stands abandoned, stripped of its Christmas finery.
Open tins of Danish butters cookies and gourmet popcorn
Crowd the counter reminding us of calories consumed.
The late night snacks of spiral cut ham and eggnog
Reside permanently on the thighs.
Empty bottles of Zinfandel and Noel Ale crowd the recycling bin.
It’s time to put Christmas away.
Time to forget the holiday stress, the raised voices,
The failed expectations, the credit card debt,
The dog destroying the stockings on Christmas Eve.
It’s time to pack them all away in Xerox paper boxes
And push them into a dark hole until the jingle of Salvation Army bells
calls out the Season once again.