Making a Resolution Not to Make Resolutions

It’s 2013, a whole new year. Right now, millions of people are making resolutions. Friends and family members alike tell one another of the tremendous change that will occur in the next 12 months; some even write it down and place it on the refrigerator to ensure they will remain committed to this all-important resolution.

Why do people do this? Do they believe that a new year extends some kind of special power, making it possible to accomplish something they were unable to achieve the previous year?

We all know how the story goes:  people get distracted by life, they get overly busy, memory fades, the resolution note falls off the refrigerator and gets tossed in the trash, and the commitment is soon forgotten. No harm, no foul.

I don’t encourage resolution making for those striving to achieve or maintain recovery from an eating disorder or addiction. Too often, such promises are doomed from the start. This is because individuals usually try to tackle something which requires sustainable effort to change with a brief burst of energy. Sustainability requires ongoing power, which necessitates staying connected, plugged in. The bigger the power source, the better. We tap into more power when we are connected to others and God, rather than relying all on your own. Imagine rolling a 200 pound boulder up a hill–much easier to do it with 50 people, or two people and a truck with gas, than all on you own.

Another problem people run into with resolutions is that they get fixated on trying to change something they might be powerless over.  Consider this example:  say a woman suffered from a peanut allergy and she made a resolution to no longer have an allergic reaction to eating peanuts. After all, it is a “New Year,” surely the rules have changed.   The chance of such a resolution turning out well is zero.

Instead of making a resolution, I encourage people to focus on taking sustainable, positive steps to living the life they want:  identifying available support and committing to partaking of it daily, engaging in healthy behaviors, using the skills and tools that sustain a recovery lifestyle on a daily basis, and relying on their higher power to provide strength and support.

This may include going to 12-step meetings, joining a prayer group, or embracing the radical realization that this very minute in time, they very possibly might be exactly where God wants them to be. Acceptance and pausing are both actions. Try it sometime.

It is actions such as these, taken consistently over time which result in the abundant life we all desire and deserve. You too deserve to live “weller” than the well!