The Resolution Revolution, Part 1

Do you make resolutions every New Year? We always did when I was growing up. My mother had a wonderful way of turning New Years Eve into something very special. She would drape a fancy tablecloth over the coffee table in the living room and top it with champagne glasses, sparkling cider in an ice bucket, and some favorite munchies such as marshmallow treats. In the evening, we would all gather there together. Sitting on the floor around the table and sipping our "champagne", we'd look back at the year that had just passed and make plans for the one that lay ahead. Eventually, we would be ready to make our resolutions, which was the main focus of the celebration. One by one, we would take turns, going around in a circle until each person had had a chance to verbalize every single one of their New Years resolutions.

As we did this, we had just one rule: No one was allowed to make fun of anyone else, for example, by saying, "Well it's about time!" or "Yeah, right, I'll believe that when I see it!" Instead, after each person spelled out some way that they wanted to "do better" this year, in response the others were simply to raise a glass and say, "I'll drink to that!" Each resolution was diligently recorded by my mother on the last page of her new calendar for that upcoming year, preserving a permanent, hand-written record of our best intentions.

When the clock neared midnight, we would flip on the TV to count down and watch the ball drop, then we'd sing together a verse or two of Auld Lang Syne. (What I wouldn't give for a recording of one of those nights! We were a very musical family, and our amazing harmonies were often the highlight of the evening.) I have such fond memories of those celebrations, and I'm grateful to my mother that she took the time to make them happen.

Fast forward all these many decades later and you'll find that I still bring in the New Year in almost exactly the same way with my husband and kids--with one important exception. Nowadays, though our New Years Eve celebrations usually incorporate all of the same elements that my mother's did, from the tablecloth to Auld Lang Syne, I intentionally omit the part of the evening where we make resolutions.

That's because I gave up all New Year's Resolution-making a while back. This year, I encourage you to take a good, hard look at whether you should do the same. If you do, you may just find that by eliminating the "resolution mentality" from your celebration and your life, you'll discover a startling fact, that you'll actually accomplish more, not fewer, of the changes that you want to make.


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