Resolutions are for quitters

I’m just going to go ahead and say it: New Year’s resolutions are for quitters.

Think about it. How many resolutions have you made only to find two months later that you don’t know what they were or when you stopped caring about them? Or worse, you get down on yourself for not keeping them.

Depending on what study you read, between 55 percent and 95 percent of people don’t keep the resolutions they set.

I can’t count the times I made resolutions (to lose weight, stop swearing, change jobs, spend less, save more, spend more time with family, go on a vacation, etc.) that I never kept. Sure, I would start with the best intentions, only to fail days, weeks or months later.

A few years ago, I decided to stop this cycle that only made me unhappy. I no longer remember the funny comment someone made to me about my love of cheese just weeks before the end of a year. But I clearly remember thinking, “That’s it! I’ll make one resolution for the coming year. I will eat more cheese.”

After laughing like crazy with my friends about the idea, I decided maybe it wasn’t so crazy. It was something I wanted to do and it involved something I loved. The resolution revolution was on. Over the next 12 (Yes, all 12!) months, I researched cheeses, read books and articles about cheese, visited places where cheese was made and even attended a cheese festival. And I bought some new type of cheese every week when I shopped for groceries.

I told friends about my “resolution” and I can’t tell you how many times people would ask me throughout the year, “When was the last time you had some cheese?” or “Have you tried any new cheeses lately?” People even bought me cheeses to help me keep my resolution. Maybe it was the novelty that excited them. Or maybe it was that I was actually succeeding long after the idea came about.

I didn’t gain weight that year, if you’re wondering. What I did gain was a better understanding of how I follow through (or not) on various goals I set for myself. I also gained a feeling of great satisfaction when I realized in mid-December that I was still eating more cheese than I had the year before. And I learned that I liked blue cheese, something I had always thought I hated.

Each year since, I have made one “resolution” per year. The year after cheese, it was to go to more movies. The following year, go to more concerts. The year after that, spoil myself. Surprisingly, I kept those all year as well. I also did the year before last, when I vowed to watch every Star Trek series and movie, in chronological order. I started Jan. 2 and finished Dec. 27. That led to me attending my first Star Trek convention and a new bunch of friends, but that’s a story for another day.

I do set goals all through the year and keep them. You likely do as well. But why set unrealistic goals, call them resolutions, and then set yourself up for failure and disappointment at the beginning of every year, just because everyone else does? Find something you love and go for it, no matter what time of year it is.

I tend to be more reflective this time of year, and I certainly think about my life and where I am in it. Am I doing something I love? Am I balanced? Am I happy? What do I really want for the coming year? I think those are the questions you should be asking yourselves instead of making empty promises you may not keep.

Happy New Year.