The new year means it’s time for our annual rite of passage of making resolutions.  No matter what your ethnicity or religion, you probably will be participating in our nation’s top annual secular ritual.  After the excess of the holidays, it certainly makes sense to reflect upon what you’ve experienced and learned over the past year, and resolve to improve yourself.  This is a very noble tradition.  So why do most of us fail so miserably year after year?

In order to make changes and improve one’s self, people have to be willing to be strong.  But we want it to be easy.  Let’s say you are one of the thousands of people who resolve to lose weight.  There are tons of books out there that promise how easy it will be, how you can eat anything and somehow still lose weight.  I can write a book called “The Stuff Your Face and Never Exercise Diet” and I bet it well sell like hotcakes 🙂

We’re not stupid, we just don’t want to face the truth.  If it was really so easy to lose weight, quit drinking, stop smoking, get out of debt, end a toxic relationship or whatever your problem is…wouldn’t you have made the change already if it was easy?  If it was simply about having willpower, wouldn’t you be free of the problem by now?

Change is not easy.  We have to be willing to look inside ourselves, to figure out all the why’s.  Few people have the courage to be introspective in a society that promises a shallow quick-fix.  Sooner or later many of us screw up our resolutions.  We blame ourselves-another societal legacy of our Puritanical culture.  Then we fall back into old patterns and habits..until next year’s resolution time.

It’s the start of a new decade, so let’s try something new.  Make a resolution, but expect it to be difficult at first.  Think about the underlying reasons.  What do you get out of continuing the “bad” habit?  Expect to make mistakes and have setbacks.  No human being is perfect.  Each time we err, let’s resolve to try again, without waiting another year.  Eventually our new ways of thinking will become habits, and it will finally become easier.

I will run a 5K..a half-marathon..and eventually a marathon.  But I won’t expect it to be an easy feat!