The Dreaded Resolution

The Holiday Season is in full swing and New Year’s Eve is fast approaching.

Hopefully everyone was able to enjoy a safe and sober holiday with family, friends and loved ones.

Whatever your experience may have been, just know that today is a brand-new day and with that, it brings hope, promise and a chance for a life in Recovery.

The New Year is traditionally a time when people attempt to make a change.

I’m referring specifically to the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. Why do I say, “dreaded”? We’ll get to that in a second.

If we were to define the word resolution, it would be, “a firm decision to do or not to do something”.

That sounds pretty, well… firm.

Whether you’re determined to lose weight, start exercising or spend more time with grandma, making a resolution doesn’t leave much room for forgiveness. As a matter of fact, it is more likely to set us up for failure.

Here’s the dreaded part and the fact part rolled into one.

According to statistics, about 40% of adults in the US make a resolution. According to those same statistics, about 9% of those adults keep those resolutions. Most people bow out before the end of January. A healthy portion exit stage left before the end of the first week.

Sound familiar?

I mean, in theory why wait until the New Year to make a change if you’re ready to make a change now? And if not now, will you really be ready in a week? Real change requires a willingness.

In my active addiction, it was common for me to make, and break promises on the regular, but the New Year’s resolution was always the most epic in terms of failures.

For me, a resolution seems final. It seems unforgiving. It seems impossible.

There’s really no room for error with a resolution and that’s not how change works.

Now that I’m in long term recovery, I can appreciate imperfection. I understand that long term change takes time. Perhaps that’s why it’s called long term.

Change for me is always about managing expectations and giving myself a break. When I make resolutions, I inevitably and irrevocably disappoint myself and others.

Today I give myself a break. I take stock of all the things that worked and didn’t work for me throughout the year, and I think about ways in which I can improve on them.

If you still feel like you want to make some resolutions for the New year, perhaps think about making a resolution to be willing to change instead of the change itself.

If the willingness is there, the rest will work itself out.

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