Are you one of those people who feel the need to wipe the slate clean at the end of the year and resolve to produce a few changes in your life? If so, sorry to tell you but the odds are against your success. Health clubs make tons of money on new memberships in January, gambling that the majority of people will stop coming in a month or two. How depressing! When you think about it, New Year’s Day is just another day, so why do we set ourselves up for failure by creating resolutions? At the first slip-up, most of us will give up and wait until the beginning of the next cycle (year, month, week) to start again.

A change of thinking is required if we really want to successfully create change in our lives. If you are still set on making New Year’s resolutions, a couple of web sites have some helpful hints: Time Magazine’s How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions: Advice from the Experts and The Happiness Project’s 13 Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions 

Then there’s the strategy that author Lisa Scottoline employs, the un-resolutions. Lisa writes a column called Chick Wit in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In one of her columns, she wrote that instead of resolving to make changes, she picks several things that she enjoys so much that she resolves NOT to change. I love this idea! For instance, she occasionally will sleep in her clothes.  Instead of resolving to stop doing this, Lisa un-resolves to keep on doing it.  She says that when she falls asleep in her sweats, she can just get right up in the morning already dressed.  Makes sense, that’s what writers do!

As for me, I think I need a combination of resolves and un-resolves. My diet is not always the best, especially my dark chocolate habit. Every year, I resolve to give it up and every year I fail. Instead, I’m going to change my resolution to allow eating a moderate amount of chocolate. And as most writers, I don’t get out of the house enough.  So I un-resolve to continue taking lots of walks with my dog or by myself because that’s when inspiration always hits me. I know this is true but I often deny myself of downtime because I feel guilty that I’m “not working.” I also un-resolve to continue socializing with people for the same reason – inspiration – plus a writer’s life can be lonely. Friends are very important for all of us.

This week tends to be a time of reflection for many of us; the Christmas rush is through and we may be off of work. I know I have lots of other resolutions and un-resolutions I’d like to make. One stands out: Go easy on myself, be less critical of not just me but others too. We’re all struggling in this world together and nobody’s perfect.  On that note, why am I going to make resolutions that will create stress?  Forget all of the other resolutions!  Just be happy.

Wishing all of you a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.