New Years and New You’s: Why I Think We Expect Too Much from a Countdown

New Years here in the Village means snowshoeing through the bush

So I guess we’re in a new year. And I feel almost obligated to write a post about New Years Resolutions, or how excited I am for a new year, maybe even just how to wine and dine your guests with delicious but easy homemade food?

But see there are several problems:

  1. After making Caramel Apple Spice Waffles and a Maple-Brown Sugar ham on Christmas day, and then incredibly delicious Greek Yogurt martini desserts, ravioli from scratch, peach bellini cupcakes (recipe here), and lemon lime cookies all in one day, I’m at the point where I’m like “Here – I bought spinach dip at Costco! It’s good!”

    So much deliciousness. From top left, clockwise: Peach Bellini Cupcakes, Cinnamon Brown Sugar Greek Yogurt Cocktails, Butternut Squash Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Pecans, Caramel Apple Spice Waffles, Lemon-Lime Cookies

    So much deliciousness. From top left, clockwise: Peach Bellini Cupcakes, Cinnamon Brown Sugar Greek Yogurt Cocktails, Butternut Squash Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Pecans, Caramel Apple Spice Waffles, Lemon-Lime Cookies

  2. I don’t really see the big hooplah about a new year. All it means to me is that I am going to have issues more frequently when writing the date on my notes. The same thing that happens the first week of every month. Don’t take it personal New Years, I feel a little bit the same about birthdays – one day doesn’t make THAT much of a difference (possibly the result of writing three exams on my birthday in Second Year and having midterms before and after my birthday in First Year). I’m still going to take advantage of the opportunity to have a good time with friends, but I still don’t get it.
  3. New Years Resolutions are just… I can’t even. When I think of New Years Resolutions, I think of how much of a pain it’s going to be to go to the campus gym for the month of January. Because let’s face it, I have no stats backing me up but at least 60% of people will make a resolution to lose weight. Which will drive them on juice cleanses and strict no carb diets and will force them en masse to the gym on a daily basis. This will continue for several weeks before most will give up, so that by mid march, the gym will be back to normal. And I say this not because I am pessimistic but because I know that people either expect the new year to change their wants and likes overnight and because they set unrealistic goals, which when they fail to accomplish they feel discouraged, or they use unrealistic methods that cannot be reasonably maintained.

I feel like at this point you’re probably like “Ok, I see why she called herself the Grinch the other day.”

But wait. Stay with me here for five minutes. I believe that people can make real changes for the good, and I believe that some people need the deadline of a new year. I just don’t think you can expect 2014 to do all the work. The passing of one second from 2013 to 2014 isn’t going to cause any radical changes, you can’t expect that one second to change everything, if you do you’re probably expecting a little bit much of the calendar year. You’re not going to be tapped on the head with a wand and magically change. We’re not at Hogwarts or in some classic fairy tale where you ride in a silver pumpkin to a dreamy ball where you meet your Prince Charming and ride off into the sunset.

If you need a reset then hit reset on your life, you don’t have to wait for January 1st.

I do it all the time.

Random Thursdays when I decide that “I need to be nicer to myself” and vow to say nice things to myself and never bash my body or life again. Which lasts about 3 days, before I realize I’m single or can’t get my jeans buttoned.

Occasional Fridays when, following the Jeans Incident I decide that “I need to stop eating junk food. I will only eat healthy food. No more munching!” Which lasts about 3 days before I accidentally devour a bag of chips watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Tuesdays where I realize that I have no idea where I am going to be in 6 months and cry about how directionless my life appears.

Shit happens.

(And before you read that, thinking good Lord, I don’t want to take advice from someone who apparently spends half the week in a state of self-loathing. This is rare. I like myself. And my runner thighs. And being alone as far as I’m concerned isn’t the worst thing in the world. And I know where I want to go in life, I just don’t know when I’m going to get there yet.)do-over-button

Sometimes you just want a do-over. A chance to separate yourself from all your perceived short-comings. I don’t know. I told you, I don’t get New Years Resolutions.

And yet I always come up with at least one… Or I try, so that when people ask me what my resolution was I have something to tell them.

Really for me nothing is going to change January 1st, 2014. And it’s not because I’ve got my entire life figured out or that there’s nothing to change, but because I think the idea of sudden radical change is sort of b.s. Then again the vagueness of the resolutions was the first clue. I’ll change, but baby steps. And I’m not going to overhaul myself because the calendar said I had to.

I remember in grade 9 gym class the teacher told us that our goals had to be SMART. By this point I am sure you’ve all heard the drill – Smart, Measurable, … I forget what A is (Attainable, thanks Google!), Realistic, and …Timely? I don’t know. I really couldn’t excel as a motivational speaker. I don’t have magic formulas to fix your life. And yet I plan on being a therapist. Oops. But really the point is to be realistic about it and set a plan that makes sense and allows you to measure your progress. I also know from … social psychology?… that setting mini goals works even better. Something about seeing yourself accomplish the smaller goals makes the big goal more manageable and makes you feel more successful, thus increasing commitment. I also learned how to get you to let me skip ahead in the Tim Horton’s line, but that’s my secret.

All that ranting aside, what do I want to try and make happen in 2014 that I might actually be able to accomplish? Because goals are important. I mean you have to have some sort of destination in mind. Here’s 14 goals for 2014 that I may or may not accomplish/may or may not have sort of already accomplished.

  1. Train for Ottawa Race Weekend. Even if it’s snowing/windy/colder than the Arctic.
  2. Do my dishes more than once a week when I have run out of pans.
  3. Nap more.
  4. Read more.
  5. Speaking of – stay on top of my readings. (Ha. Says every student every term.)
  6. Love more.
  7. Make my bed more.
  8. Learn new recipes.
  9. Learn a new language? Maybe just relearn French.
  10. Let things go more.
  11. Go with the flow more.
  12. Replace my blood with coffee.
  13. Hang up that bar I bought in 2012.
  14. Eat vegetarian for a month just to see if I can.

See vague, impossible to measure goals. Perfect. I’m all set for the countdown!

3, 2, 1 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tell me – am I grumpy, or is New Years Day really just another day?

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

― Oprah Winfrey

* I meant to post this yesterday but had to leave for my New Years Plans. Which were cancelled due to a blizzard. So #CanadianProblems.
And yet I still didn’t make it back to the computer…


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