My husband is very anti-resolution. He says you shouldn’t wait until the new year to do something…JUST DO IT NOW!
And it reminded me that he and I represent two very different types of people. The Do It Now people and the Do It Monday people. It doesn’t have to be Monday, of course, but for me I consider Monday the start of the week so that is the day when I vow to do things BETTER. See also other beginnings like: The First Day of the Month, the First Day of School, the First Day of a New Job, and my favorite of all – New Year’s Day.
The problem is that the Do It Now people see those of us who wait until Monday, or the New Year, to start something as the same people who fade out after a few days/weeks/months and then have to start again on the next Monday or the next month or the next New Year. The Do It Now people look at that as a series of failures and they associate failures with anyone who waits until a new beginning to start a new habit instead of starting it the moment you think about it.
But here’s the secret that us Do It Monday people know: there’s also a bunch of Do It Never people out there and we are pulled to be THAT person almost every day. The thing that keeps you from being a Do It Now person is that Do It Never is comforting and safe. So, starting something on January 1st that you might give up by February 1st, still means you did something. You were a Do It Monday person, not a Do It Never person.
There are a lot of us who fight the demons of depression or anxiety that pull us to lethargy and apathy. Those demons want us to be Do It Never people. Even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness, every bad habit that we want to fix means going away from something easy or toward something hard. Sugary food gives us those quick energy bursts and fattening food make us feel safe and full and comforted. Endlessly scrolling through social media triggers dopamine responses as part of a “novelty bias” response that our brain is conditioned to loving. Buying new things also stimulates happy little neurochemicals every time you walk out of the store. Running makes you sweat. Yoga makes you sore. Healthy food usually requires cooking which some of us (me) hate.
There are a million quantifiable reasons to be a Do It Never person. I can break down every bad habit I want to change into the mental health and biochemical hurdles I have to jump just to get away from them. So every time I jump a hurdle? I celebrate. No matter how far down the track I end up.
If you are a Do It Monday person? Lean into it. Celebrate it. Don’t fret about the good habits that don’t stick or the bad habits you can’t seem to break. Instead, celebrate every time you avoided being a Do It Never person. Make a list of things you’re going to do differently in the New Year a mile long and embrace every time you succeed and don’t even flinch at the times you don’t. Every step forward should be celebrated, even if you’ve started the same journey 100 times.
At least you’re still moving.