By Sharon M. McCampbell
Fresh into the second month of 2020, have you already given up on your New Year’s Resolutions like 92% of our country’s population? Every year, January first, millions of Americans resolve to make changes. I’m going to quit smoking, drinking, over-eating. I’m going to get in shape, work on my marriage, and finish my degree this year! As we plow through January our thoughts chip away at our resolve: “Wow, I thought I’d be seeing some results by now.” February, maybe, things go along pretty well, we take our walks and go to our work-outs (mostly), stay away from our cigarettes (well mostly), cork the bottle after one glass (aw, come ON) and stride past the cookie isle at the grocery store (well, at least creep past). Then…slowly but surely, we skip that walk or miss our work-out, just this once, we’re only going to have one cigarette or glass of wine today, the cookies creep back into the pantry (of course they’re the low-fat kind). Suddenly, we’re right back where we started. No. That’s not really true is it? We’re worse off than we were before, because now, we’re beating ourselves up over how weak we are. Sound familiar??
Why do we do it year after year? Making those cursed “new year’s resolutions?” Is it the hope of changing into some fantasy of ourselves we all see in our minds eye? Some unattainable phantom we imagine ourselves to be somewhere under all the humanness. Maybe yes, maybe no or, just maybe, we have set an attainable goal if only we’d stick with it.
I’m all for setting goals. If we don’t have somewhere to go, we end up nowhere. Why wait until January though? Every day is a new beginning and a chance to make right choices. Our lives are made up of choices minute by minute, hour by hour, we choose to do good for ourselves and others, or we choose not to. Not changing is as much a choice as changing is.
Interestingly enough the definition of “new year’s resolution” reads like this: “A New Year resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.” (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Commitment is the key word here. Americans seem to have lost the ability to stick with a commitment even to ourselves. It’s too hard we say. I deserve this donut. I NEED a cigarette! Gakkk! Just think about this for a minute…put another way we might be saying: I deserve to clog my arteries with fat and my blood stream with caustic sugars. I NEED to damage my lungs, produce premature wrinkles and brown teeth. Now, the “it’s too hard” excuse I might agree with, at least initially.
Do you want to be like the other 8% of Americans that actually stick to their goals?
As minutes soar into hours, hours into days, days into months, months into years, our choices take a toll on our bodies and our lives. We are in a constant state of flux, never remaining the same, but growing stronger or weaker by the moment. It is in the struggle that we become stronger. Struggle WILL come, no doubt about that. The question is will I choose it, or will I wait for it.
Choosing to do the hard work to get our bodies, spirits and lives in shape pays off in great ways. This choice prepares us for those struggles we inadvertently wait for in life. Our physical strength will help us to recover from injury or illness more quickly, should it come. Our spiritual strength will see us through the storms that come along for all of us: Death, hurricanes, etc… We all know what they are.
Choosing to stay in a state of dis-ease may very well cause injury or illness, and ultimately death. Okay, so none of us gets out of this alive, the question remains will we spend our days on earth really alive, or will we merely survive? We may believe not changing is the easy way, the path of least resistance. The truth is it is the harder road to go. As we travel along that road, it becomes increasingly rocky and steep until we finally hit the dead end, some sooner than later unfortunately.
So, why wait? Start today living your life on purpose and with purpose. Be your own best friend and take yourself to your work-out and on that walk, you’ve been promising. Put down the cigarettes and cork the bottle a little sooner. One day, one choice at a time, make the changes you’ve been intending to make for years. You’ll be thankful that you did as the years pass easier and leave less of a mark on your smiling, bright eyed, face.
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