Thursday, January 3, 2019

Adulting 101: The Guilt of Resolutions

"What are your resolutions for the New Year?"

There is no question asked, every January, that strikes more fear in the hearts of adults.  If you say that you don't "do" resolutions, you get a lecture about adults and goal setting. If you stammer out some sort of sentence that resembles a goal, then you get an interrogation regarding the best way to formulate a resolution, because yours is terrible.  It's definitely a no-win, all around, especially if the person lecturing you is not the paragon of virtue they are pretending to be. 

You know who you are.  

When I first became an adult, and everyone started pestering me about resolutions, I was willing to give them a try. Create a grand goal toward the betterment of myself as a person?  Count me in, fellow adults!  I resolved to lose 47 pounds and be more tolerant of stupidity.  Easy, right?  Nope.  Too lofty, I was told.  Too unrealistic.  Fine, I grumbled.  I'll just lose the 47 pounds. Wait, now I actually have to DO this thing?

I started off the year on a good note, buying healthy food and setting up an exercise program. I was proud of myself.   By January 5th, I'd skipped at least one workout and eaten half a dozen donuts that someone left at work.

That's when the guilt sets in. Tremendous guilt. Your brain castigates you for not having any will power:  Why can't you just walk away from the donuts?  You didn't even let your coworkers get one! Shame! Shame! Shame! What is wrong with you, Fatty McThunderthighs?  If your brain is like mine, you may be able to rally your resolve for a few days longer.  You may even make it to the end of the the month.  Sooner or later, though, you've dropped all your resolutions and dissolved into a messy puddle of guilt and melted ice cream. I'm a terrible adult, I've told myself, wallowing in self-pity. 

Why?  Because someone told you that you should?  Because some sort of artificial establishment of society says that I have to?  Because you're an adult and that is what adults do? 

No.  The thing about being an adult is that YOU get to decide what works for YOU.  Are you the goal setting type?  That is wonderful!  Go for it!  Have a short attention span?  Maybe set up some micro resolutions that can be met weekly or even daily.  Tend to eat your feelings?  Focus on eating more fruits and veggies instead.  There's no guilt involved.  It's a resolution, not an all-or-nothing scenario.

Failure will happen, yes. This is part of being an adult. If everyone reached their goal on the first day of January, there wouldn't be this billion dollar industry set up around resolutions.  If you don't meet your goal today, you get to try again, and again, until you reach that goal or you decide to try something different.  Get up, dust yourself off, and do your best.  Don't worry about the top of the mountain, just focus on the climb. 

One rock at a time, until you get there, however long it takes.   That's what adults do.

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