It’s often one of the first questions people ask you leading up to and just after New Year’s… “Do you have any resolutions this year?”
We see endless segments on morning talk shows and countless articles written about what resolutions to make, how to make them, how to keep them, and what to do when you don’t keep them. They can be helpful, yes, but they often only scratch the surface, throwing around platitudes and cliches. This will not be one of those articles.
Instead, I want to try and reframe the way we view making these types of changes in our lives. So if you’ll allow me, below I’ve attempted to do just that.
To tell you the truth, I’ve never been a resolution guy. Goals, sure. But not resolutions. You can argue the difference here is merely semantics, and you might be right. I’ve just never been one to make a New Year’s resolution. If we’re being real, no one keeps them anyway so why make one, right? This thought got me thinking about resolutions and goals in general, though.
One of the main problems with resolutions—particularly New Year’s resolutions—is that as soon as we miss a few days of doing or not doing whatever our resolution was, we write off the whole year.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make big changes and do “all the things” in the new year. But when that doesn’t happen—or doesn’t happen fast enough to meet our standards—we get discouraged and quit trying altogether. Or maybe we convince ourselves that we’re just too busy right now. We’ll get to it next year.
Whatever the reason, the resolution often dies an early death.
But what if we freed the idea of resolving to do something from the limit of just one time of year? What if we had the freedom to do that every single day of the year?
Living with a disability teaches you some important lessons on life pretty quickly. One of these lessons is the need for a short memory. You hear NFL quarterbacks and other athletes talk about this often. If you go out on the field or court and make a mistake that hurts you or your team’s chances of winning, it can get in your head. But you often have to get right back out there almost immediately and continue playing the game. If the only thing on your mind is an endless replay of your mistakes, chances are you’re going to make them again. Instead, athletes have to develop a short memory and let go of the bad plays almost immediately so they can preform and lead without their mistake hanging over their head.
Similarly, you have a lot of bad plays when you live with a disability.
Some of them are your own fault, some your teammate’s, and some are just because the defender made a better play. You make mistakes, others hurt you, and circumstances arise. You have good days, great days, bad days, and crap days… and a lot of all of them. But because the bad and crap days often tend to come at a higher rate, you have to develop this same ability to have a short memory. You have to learn to let go of the bad days and allow yourself to move on. If you don’t things can get gloomy quick. You get stuck in a rut of fear, anxiety, depression, and doubt and you end up actually perpetuating the bad days.
It’s the same way in all our lives—disabled or not.
Allowing ourselves to let go of the bad days gives us the ability to move forward and embrace the opportunities in the new one.
It doesn’t mean we’re delusional or denying the bad days happened. It also doesn’t mean denying ourselves the right to experience the emotions these days bring. All it means is simply not giving bad days the power to dictate the outcome of the rest of our days. And by doing this we can actually enable ourselves to learn and find good in the bad that we never would’ve seen otherwise.
This is the appeal New Year’s Day and resolutions bring. It’s the closing of the door on one year and everything that happened in it—good or bad—and the opening of the door into a new year full of possibilities. But again, why should we limit this to one time of year?
By approaching everyday as New Year’s Day—a fresh, new start—we give ourselves the gift of grace and the ability to create new habits or accomplish new things at any given time.
Every day is a blank slate and a new start, so why don’t we treat them like it? Just like developing a short memory helps us to move forward from the bad days, viewing everyday as an opportunity to transform and start over new helps us to remember our resolutions and goals aren’t all or nothing. Transformation takes time, and our resolutions often have slow solutions.
So if we mess up and make a mistake—as we all do and will—well, tomorrow’s a new day and we’ll start again then. These two abilities—letting go of the bad days and recognizing the opportunity in every day—help us to begin to see the potential in every new sunrise. They enable us to accomplish the resolutions we thought we’d never keep or accomplish. We make fewer mistakes, do them more consistently, and they even begin getting easier. Where we may have once quit or given up, we now have the strength to persevere.
I’ll leave you with one of my Grandude’s favorite quotes…
To which I can hear myself giving the smart-Alec reply of, “why would you want to eat an elephant?” But it’s true. Take it slow, give yourself some grace, let go of the bad days so you can move on to the new day, and treat every day like it’s New Year’s Day.
Well, those are my remARCs. I hope they in some way, big or small, might have resonated with you. Whether it made you laugh, cry (I hope not too much), smile, or maybe think about life from a different perspective, I hope you take something away from this article that makes your day even the slightest bit better. I’d love to hear your remARCs as well. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment on the My RemARCs Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages… unless you hated it. In which case, why are you even still reading this? I’d also really appreciate it if you’d follow me on social media and consider sharing this article with your friends. Hope to see you back here soon. Until then, be well and live remARCably.