Archived Story

Resolutions are a drag

Published 11:53am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Be more organized, keep the house clean, exercise and get in shape, eat healthier, save money, conserve energy, relearn to play the piano, keep in touch with friends and family, walk the dogs more frequently, find a place to volunteer, improve my vocabulary, be more thankful, live carefree without so many worries, update my wardrobe, keep up on the latest world news, actually care about voting and blah, blah, blah …

Whew! Like many people, New Year’s resolutions seem to overcome my thoughts toward the end of the year, but my thoughtful ambitions, unfortunately, always seem to remain just a thought.

With “too many irons in the fire” or too many self-improvement quests, something is always forgotten, and I usually beat myself up about it later.

I’ve recently decided, though, that while resolutions are good in one hand, in the other hand, they are also a drag.

Why? Because, New Year’s resolutions always seem to prove to me that I’m never satisfied with how things are or who I am, and I only dwell on how things could be, always looking at how I’ve failed and how I could have done better.

And yes, all the things  aforementioned are good to improve, I know if I dwell on those improvements, I will certainly forget to focus on who I am now and what things I do well and like about myself.

I don’t say all of this to get pity. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m down on myself all the time.

But I do think that a lot of people, or at least a large number of people I know, focus a lot more on how things could be or could have been instead of how things are and appreciating what they do have.

Do you ever do that? Dwell on the “what ifs” and “could have beens”? Or how about the “if onlys”?

For example, fill in this statement: If only I could be _____ I would be happy.

I could fill in the blank with all of my resolutions.

If only I could keep the house clean, I would be happy.

But, you see, I can clean and clean and clean, but cleaning is not the issue.

Cleaning the house and trying new ways to get organized and staying on top of things is good to do, but when things do get messy and I get so overwhelmed by my “if only I could keep the house clean” bit, then I lose sight of what is most important.

It’s moments like those I need to sit back, relax and realize the cleaning can get done another day.

I spend so much time living and planning for the future that I forget to live in the present.

As the singer and songwriter John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

And while I know I’m the only person guilty of doing this (sarcasm intended), I still want to challenge you to try and live in the now, appreciating your good qualities and what good is happening in your life, instead of the past or future.

Make your resolutions – I know I will – but remember not to overload yourself with a list of self-improvements to accomplish because before you know it, you’ll be heading into another year, wondering where the year went and still wishing you were _____.

Jessica Hargett is a staff writer for The Outlook.