How to Actually Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
Happy New Year to All
First, I want to wish everyone on Hub Pages a very happy, healthy and successful New Year. We're looking at the year 2015 in just a very few days. For me, it's definitely time to put my house in order, and make a few changes in lifestyle in the upcoming year.
A lot of us have a couple of bad habits that we would be better off ditching, and I'm certainly no exception. Whether you're hooked on video games or find yourself over-imbibing the red, red wine, or whether you haven't exercised, ever, and are now looking down at a bay window when you step on the bathroom scales; whether McDonald's for lunch has an irresistible appeal to the bad angel sitting on your left shoulder; if you're still spending too much on your credit cards; whatever your particular little thing that you want to fix, you can, in 2015.
We'll Find a Way
The photos in this hub are from Wikipedia Commons. I'm having a little trouble with the photo module. I can't type in the boxes to attribute a photo, nor can I paste a link. Ah well.
I have cancer, and I'm also a smoker. I know, I know, I know. I really, really, really should quit smoking. It's just about the most unhealthy thing a person can do to themselves, other than a heroin addiction or some such. It also is now very expensive, besides being horribly repellent to someone who doesn't smoke or has quit smoking successfully.
I've made the New Year's Resolution to quit smoking, over and over and over again. I think the longest I've lasted without a cigarette in the last 40 years is about a week. Well, I talked this over with a friend. I have tried everything--the patch, the gum, hypnosis, you name it.
My friend made a suggestion which I have not heard before, because when she tried to tell me this years ago, I didn't listen. I'm going to try it. It worked for my friend, who was also very, very addicted to cigarettes. She also had tried everything in the book to quit. She also said this same thing helped her to lose some weight, which she handled as a separate issue, after she had quit smoking for one year.
She said to do this:
Make your New Year's resolutions for one day only--for New Year's day. Everybody can keep a resolution for one day. It's the way to get started. You're not looking at the whole year; you're just looking at fixing a bad habit or establishing a new good habit for just one day. It's a lot less intimidating, and you'll have a sense of success going into January 2, because you've kept your New Year's resolution(s).
She emailed me her list of New Year's resolutions, which she kept, for the year she quit smoking. It goes something like this:
- I will not have a cigarette until noon. (If you're a smoker or have ever been a smoker, you know the first thing you do in the morning is to light a cigarette.)
- I will allow myself a cigarette once every two hours for the rest of the day.
- Before I go to bed tonight, I'll make a January 2 list of resolutions.
Her New Year's resolution list was very short. It was also doable. She hid her cigarettes on herself so she wouldn't automatically light one in the morning. She also laid in a supply of nicotine gum. No, that's not cheating. The gum doesn't pollute your lungs, or anyone else's, for that matter.
This is her list of resolutions for January 2:
- Don't smoke until 1pm.
- After 1pm, I allow myself one cigarette every three hours.
- Take a multivitamin.
- Drink decaffeinated coffee.
- Before I go to bed, make a list of resolutions for January 3.
And so on. You get the idea.
Further down the road...
Her list for February 1 included no cigarettes. She had added some other things by then, like paying down her credit cards, taking an online course to learn Spanish as a second language, a daily yoga routine, cutting out sweets, things like this.
Let me tell you, she looked great! I remember noticing how much her whole complexion had improved, as well as her outlook on life. In our friendship, I was always the super-optimistic one; she brought me back to earth, frequently. Not that she was a doomsayer or anything, just more practical and less inclined to believe what everybody said. She also started hounding me to quit smoking about then. She tried to explain to me then what she did to quit smoking, but I really wasn't ready to listen. I feel bad about that now. She really wanted to help me, and I brushed it off as gently as possible. I just didn't want people to bully me about smoking.
I think she also developed more self-confidence, from having succeeded with her daily resolutions. I think she had a bit of a self-image problem before that, especially in social situations. I noticed she was more outgoing when we were out together, and would actually talk with people she didn't know, rather than hiding behind me, as she had a little tendency to do. I could bring her into the conversation by degrees, but she had to warm up to the person or people we were talking to, first. Now, she began to initiate conversations with people with whom she wasn't well acquainted. This represented a big step for her.
She found her husband not quite two years later, and though we've stayed in touch through the years, our lives have moved in different directions. She's one of my best friends, and my original adult book buddy. We'll always have that in common. I'm so glad to see her happy. She deserves to be, so much. She has a very sterling character; she's someone I trust.
And now I'm ready to listen to her.
We're as ready as we'll every be; NOW IS the time!
My good angel sitting on right shoulder and my bad angel sitting on my left shoulder were having a little fight the other night over this quitting smoking in 2015 thing. My bad angel was telling me that I already have cancer; it's too late; quitting now is like closing the barn door after the horse has been stolen.
My good angel was telling me that by some miracle, my last pet scan was clear, and we're doing radiation now to prevent the cancer from coming back! I'd be a total idiot to add carcinogens to my body at this point, after all that has been done for me to beat back the cancer and extend my life. It would just be so ungrateful to God!
This is the nub: I don't want to quit smoking. I never have wanted to quit smoking, even though I've tried to quit, for health, social and financial reasons. I fully realize it's a TERRIBLE habit.
The good angel won. Whether or not I want to quit, whether or not I feel like quitting, it's time to quit. There never will be a better time.
That's what happens to a lot of our good intentions. Most New Year's resolutions aren't kept because even though we recognize the need for a change, or the room for improvement, we don't really want to do it. We're rational people. We understand the benefits of said proposed change or improvement. We understand the negative impact in continuing in whatever bad habit we should work to overcome. We just have real difficulty buckling down and doing something we don't want to do, when we have the free choice. Or, refraining from doing something that we want to do, when we have the free choice. We're human.
I know this much. I'm going to keep my New Year's resolutions for 2015. It's for just the one day, and it's a beginning. A new start.