A woman sitting at a table with papers and a pen.


I resolve to…

A new year is just days away. With the beginning of every new year, millions of people make impressive and unattainable resolutions.  By February, the majority of resolutions are a thing of the past. Have you ever really wondered why?  Here’s my theory:  Resolutions and Fantasies are not the same thing.

Resolutions should push you to go beyond your current limits and limitations, but they cannot create an entirely different person overnight who is relatively unrecognizable. Resolutions are a way to improve and encourage growth; they can be steps on the path to becoming who you want to be.

Fantasies are when you desire a change that is so outside of you, that it’s virtually unachievable.  Fantasies disguised as resolutions tend to require actions and steps that even the most disciplined soldier couldn’t maintain.  They are tricky because frequently the adrenaline associated with the new year helps you visit your personal Fantasy Island for maybe one to two weeks.

Here an example of the difference:

Goal:  To lost 20 lbs

Fantasy disguised as a resolution

Starting January 1 I will:

  • limit my eating to 2,000 calories per day,
  • I will go the gym daily,
  • I will meal prep every Sunday afternoon for the upcoming week,
  • When I go out to eat I will only eat salads and vegetables


Starting January 1 I will:

  • begin writing down all of my meals daily so I can see where I need to make adjustments
  • I will start exercising 2 days a week and increase to 3 or 4 days a week after one month
  • I will exercise self control and restraint when eating out.
  • I will be intentional about my grocery shopping and plan my meals for the week ahead.

Can you see the difference?  They both are targeted to lose the 20 lbs you want to, but one of them is more reasonable than the other.  I’m not bashing drastic changes, but I am saying set reasonable goals for yourself. We often feel like a failure when we are unable to keep up the rigors of our fantastical changes.  When we don’t achieve the goal, we fall back even further than we were before we started—creating feelings of guilt and shame.

The way to remedy that is not to set the bar so low you can easily jump over it.  The way to remedy this sense of fantastical failure is to be realistic in setting your goals.  Change can be made whenever you desire different consequences and outcomes for behavior patterns. January 1 can provide the momentum needed to jumpstart, but it can’t be the sole driver to your changes. You can resolve to do better any day of the week. You can change at this moment if you are motivated to do so.

Rather than creating unattainable goals, I encourage you to resolve the following:

  • To have honest time with yourself to examine what areas of your life need attention.
  • Be intentional in your actions and honestly recognize the cause and effect of your actions and behaviors.
  • Set short- and long – term goals that are in line with the person you wish to be.
  • To set time to reevaluate these things on a regular basis (like quarterly) and make adjustments as necessary.
  • To give yourself grace on the journey of life.  Give yourself space and time to grow, learn and adjust.

Happy New Year!

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