So I've been reading and thinking about New Year's resolutions some more. As I've said before, I love them. I love the idea of starting over, of changing things I'm unhappy with, being a better person, yada yada yada. But I'm realizing that true change is more about the 10,000 little decisions we make every day, week and month than starting out all big and bold in January and thinking we're going to change ourselves once and for all. That's how I've done it in the past. Ok. Starting in January I will do such-and-such every single day. Or like someone I know well has resolved to do, I won't eat any sweets all year long. (That would NEVER be me, by the way. Never!) We think that all of a sudden we are going to be the person we want to be. In one fell swoop. Just because it's January and a new year. And we have all of this resolve.
But all that happens is that we fail. Then we get discouraged because we're falling into the same habits as before January. We get defeated and maybe even give up. Which of course defeats the purpose of doing the resolutions in the first place. Realizing that it's many many little choices we make every day kind of takes the pressure off though. We don't have to change everything that needs changing at one time. It's one decision here to choose to turn around and listen to my son instead of mindlessly nodding as I type on the computer. It's another little one there to choose to sit down and read a book to my baby when I feel like doing something more "constructive" like cleaning. Or asking my husband about his day when I really want to complain about mine. It's choosing to adjust my tone and choose love when I'm really quite angry at the moment.
Don't get me wrong. I still like the idea of evaluating ourselves yearly or whenever else we decide to take a look at how things are working out for us. I think we want more for ourselves than what we are. We realize we are not where we should or could be. And that's good. That's healthy. I'm not sure I'd want to be around the person who felt like they had nothing they needed improving on. But I also think we like resolutions because we still think if we work hard enough, we can make ourselves acceptable to others or maybe to ourselves. Or even God. I know I'm guilty of that. I still think I can do it myself. I want the control. I want to make it happen. And for some reason, I think I can through sheer willpower.
But I'm really beginning to like this idea that it's more about the tons of little choices we make each day. Those are what really shape us anyway if you think about it. And it's about grace when we make the many bad choices that we make every day. As long as we keep moving forward, forgiving ourselves when we fail and learning from our mistakes, we will improve and grow. It's a process, not a one-time deal. And that's okay. I think I can live with that.