New Year’s Resolutions and Why I Stopped Making Them, SJ Himes (A Special Guest Post)

New Year’s Resolutions and Why I Stopped Making Them
SJ Himes
Don’t let the title fool you—I’m no Grinch. Pessimism has its place, but so does hope. That’s what New Year’s Resolutions are supposed to represent—hope for a better future. For at the core of every resolution, the maker has a wish, a desire for something more, something better, and that is hope in its purest form. So I’m not anti-hope or anti-resolutions—I’m anti-restrictions. And that, to me, is what New Year’s Resolutions have become.
Failing Resolutions
Too many times in the past when I’ve given in and made a Resolution for New Year’s, I start out with good intentions, a drive and desire to improve, to fix something, to become better. But in the structured method of making it a Resolution—a societal and cultural phenomenon that is reminiscent of making a vow and swearing on personal honor—I found myself weighed down by restrictions set forth in my Resolution, and then balking and dragging my heels. And then, when I’ve “failed” due to those rebellious attitudes, the likelihood of following through on that Resolution becomes none.
By making myself a promise, and with the weight behind a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve placed upon myself a set of rules by which I need to follow exactly, or I’ve then failed. For instance, “I’m going to lose 40lbs by next year! That’s 3.3lbs a month! Easy! And I’m going to do it by eating healthier, exercising, and spending less time on the computer! It’ll be great!”
And it is great…until life throws a wrench in the works, and the first “failure” has occurred. Say I get to July, and I’ve only lost 10lbs. Not so bad, I have half a year left, right? But in my mind, it’s failure, because I should’ve lost twenty. And I can’t spend less time on the computer, since I’m a writer by trade and that’s how I work. Exercise? Don’t get me started.
Here’s what it boils down to—people fail resolutions because they’ve promised themselves things in too restrictive a method, and when they stumble on the way to fulfilling that promise, they shut down. For some it’s a cascading demolition of good intentions that eventually lands them in a depressing place where a Resolution is abandoned as fast as last year’s Christmas sweater.
Becoming More—Becoming BETTER, Without Resolutions
Like I said above, at its core, a resolution is hope. An expression of an innermost desire to be more, to improve. That is a beautiful and inspiring thing, and for those people who can make a resolution and keep it, I offer sincere congratulations. But if you’re like me, and you fail year after year and end up bitter and frustrated—Stop. Stop making them.
Don’t rely on the binding promise of a resolution to MAKE you succeed. Rely on yourself. You may argue that a resolution is a promise to yourself, so isn’t that the same thing? Not really, not when people make Resolutions on New Year’s with the fervor of a child blowing out candles on a birthday cake, asking for fate and magic to intercede and randomly supply the ambition needed to make the changes you resolved to have.
That desire you harbor? That tiny whisper in your heart that makes you wish and want to be better, to fix something about yourself or your life—feed it. Don’t put rules or guidelines on it. Feed that tiny whisper in your heart until it’s a cacophony of personal ambition. Your personal hope—no matter what it’s for—will make you, in moments you least expect, to gradually effect the change you’ve desired. You will become who, what, do what you need to answer that hope in your heart. Behaviors will evolve and change, new patterns will emerge, and things will begin to change.
Feeding Hope
That’s why I stopped making Resolutions. I’m of a temperament that rebels at restrictions, even ones I’ve placed upon myself, and I’ve reacted badly enough to Resolutions to see them as restrictions. So I sabotage myself.
If you’re like me, and year after year you fail at resolutions, stop making them, for the sake of your sanity and happiness. In the place of making resolutions, find your spark of hope. That tiny flame, that small, fragile whisper in your heart, find it. Feed it, coddle it, endorse it. That spark will light into a fire, in gradual and incremental steps that will forever effect a change in you and your life, and it will endure longer than a transient change created by your previous failed Resolutions.
That change you want in your life? You don’t need a Resolution to make it happen. All you need is yourself, and the hope in your heart. Change will come, with every new growth of hope. You won’t be able to do anything else but grow with it.
Wolf of the Northern Star E-Book Cover (1)What’s Next For Me in 2016
In January, I’m re-releasing the holiday novella Saving Silas. Expanded and revised to include additional content. The original version appeared in the holiday charity anthology, “Home For the Holidays.” It’s about recovering from pain, trauma, and how love can save you. I’m also looking forward to Book TWO of The Wolfkin Saga, Wolf of the Northern Star. It’s a continuation of Ghost’s and Kane’s story from Wolves of Black Pine.
I have a new series coming out in February, called The Beacon Hill Sorcerer. The first book is called Necromancer’s Dance. It’s a spin on urban fantasy, with a gay protagonist. Angelus Salvatore lives in a world of magic and evil, and the things that go bump in the night live next door and ask him out on dates. Less of a romance, and more action.
In March, the last novel in the Bred For Love series will be out, as of yet untitled. I write that series under my pen name Revella Hawthorne. Percy and Edward will face the final obstacle in their quest for a Happy Ever After.
In April and May, I have two additional titles coming out, a SECRET project I won’t be naming just yet, and a sci-fi action adventure m/m romance called “Symbiosis.”
For information on my newest releases and Coming Soon titles, please visit my website
Twitter: @WriterSJHimes