My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds. (Nia Vardalos)
So it’s January, early January to be exact. The time of year for new running shoes, gym memberships, self-help books, and extremes. Society, in general, goes a little bit crazy.
Maybe it’s the post-Christmas blues.
Maybe it’s the aftermath of too much turkey, chocolate, wrapping paper, and Christmas cheer.
Maybe it’s the hope the the year ahead of us will give us the opportunities we need to better ourselves and reach the potential that seems so far away in mid-October.
I think it’s the last one, there. The fact is that, with the arrival of a new calendar year, we beckon the arrival of a new us. A better us. An us who fit into clothing from stores with their size ranges in the titles. An us who is more organized. An us who can finally stand up to the person who keeps stealing our lunches from the office fridge. An us who is confident mentally, emotionally, sexually, grammatically, politically, musically, and so on.
And why shouldn’t we want to better ourselves when we have a clean slate and a future ripe for the choosing?
So with that in mind, I’d like to offer up what I think should be the top of everyone’s resolution list: support other people’s resolutions.
I’ve noticed in the last few years that lots of people make fun of those who have resolutions for the year ahead. Regular gym goers, frustrated by the influx of new members, grumble and look forward to mid-February when the gym will once again be theirs. High-achieving students see slackers bringing pencils and paper to class, for once, and laugh at the fruitlessness of such behavior. Regular customers of music stores frown at the disappearance of guitars and ukuleles from the shelves where they are usually displayed and wonder how many more weekend warriors will arise this year.
I’m generalizing and dramatizing, but that’s basically how it works. It’s not so much that we’re protecting the status quo, it’s that experience often shows us that we can’t do it. News reports highlight statistics regarding how many people give up their resolutions before the end of the month. More and more diet programs advertise year round because they know there is a stigma on joining in early January.
With all of this going on, having a new year’s resolution feels embarrassing and pointless. But I think that we should encourage goal-oriented people. If somebody wants to get more involved in charitable organizations, that person shouldn’t have to feel bad or like it’s an uphill battle. The person who wants to lose ten pounds and feel healthier should be able to walk into a gym on January first or second or even tenth and feel excited and proud to begin working towards that goal.
If we support one another instead of shaking our heads at those who are actually trying, we can all reach our goals or at least feel better about what we have accomplished. If we all practice this resolution, then we will all be supported to reach our own goals. It’s win-win!
So smile at the new gym member, wave at the fresh volunteers, high-five the budding musicians, and feel encouraged to make and work toward your own goals.
And stay classy folks,