I’ve started early on my New Year’s resolutions. I didn’t set out to, I just so happened to sign up for a half marathon and realized that, if I were to do it, I had to start training way before what Marian Keyes refers to as burlap month (i.e. January.) It kinda grew from there, expanding into other things I wanted to do. And you know what? I'm glad this is how it turned up.
That's not to say that, come January 1st, I won't get caught up with the communal health kick and strict budgeting that is so on trend once the holidays are over, we're back at work or school, and we wonder why we spent so much money on cookie cutters we use only once. (Tough questions, those.) But this year, I'll be aware of it. And I hope that this awareness actually leads me to making a positive change in my life.
See, I have this theory, about why New Year's resolutions don't work (for me.) It's the same reason why Christmas morning is always a little anticlimactic (for me,) and that reason, friends, is the Hype. The expectations. The movie you have running inside your head in the lead-up to something, the movie that plays when you're buying presents, planning a party, drawing up elaborate lists of things you will do in the new year or places you will visit. The movie which is always, always, always better than reality. (I mean, I know I have a fertile imagination, but let's be real - it can't be just me doing it.)
Of course, the problem with focusing on the future means you lose touch with reality. And I don't mean it like you're going around bumping into things because there's Christmas music playing everywhere - it's an issue of logistics.
Sure, it'll be great to buy everyone all of the presents, but if you go overboard, there's always the chance that you will outdo everyone in that department, and then you'll be disappointed when they stuck to budget/didn't put as much thought into it as you did. Or, you could promise to run a (half) marathon and mean it, but let me tell you - good intention will not get you through the reality of training for one. (Hell, even wellness/weight-loss motivation won't help you. Not after you figure out that running will most likely make you gain weight, because otherwise your joints will fall apart.)
I'm not arguing against resolutions, mind you. Or buying presents. By all means, buy all of the presents. Or make them. Or write a nice letter to everyone you love telling them exactly how much you love them. Regardless of how disgusting you find the whole Christmas branding thing, and the Boxing Day sales, pen and paper are fairly commonplace, and there is something precious about giving someone a written testament of your love.
Because at the end of the day, the holidays are not about presents. They're about love, (said Dr. Seuss.) And resolutions aren't about weight loss, they're about making a change in your life that makes you feel good about yourself. It's not the stuff that matters, it's the feeling. The symbol, not the animus. And those things are hard work.
Starting on my resolutions early didn't just help me prepare for the reality of them - it showed me that I could do them, and that I wanted to do them, not because I was driven by guilt or shame or a sub-par yearly review. And besides, we still have a whole week of 2014 left - that's 365 more hours of awesome that we can cram in.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and rock on, y'all.