Determination to Start Again


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We're a week into the New Year, and I don't know about you, but I've broken every single one of my "resolutions". Hard. They're shattered. Beyond redemption...

Or are they?

I've learned a lot of lessons over the years, and one of the lessons I've learned is that it's a million times harder to break a bad habit than to start a good one.

It's why my nails have been bitten down to nearly nothing. It's why I stuck a frozen pizza and chicken nuggets in the oven instead of following my menu plan. It's why I didn't finish my novel until this afternoon, instead of this past weekend as I'd hoped.

Bad habits are tough to break. And so when we come to New Year and we make all those vain promises to ourselves, the reality is we're going to fall. We're going to break those resolutions. Some might not even last the entire first day of the year, while others might possibly make it a few weeks in. But the sad truth is, most of us are going to fail at our resolutions.

It's easy when we miss that day of exercise, or skip that healthy option at lunch, or whatever might apply to our failed goal to tell ourselves, "Oh well. I tried. Maybe next year will be better. It's going to be too hard right now."

Roses from my 2019 garden.
I know those feelings. I know them very well. I've told myself it was too hard to change right now. But every time we do, we postpone our own progress.

Don't!

This is where determination comes in to play. Yes, I fell off my resolution wagons. But that doesn't mean my 2020 is a lost cause. No, my 2020 is still wide open to positive changes. Who says you can't make a resolution on January 2nd? Or February 15th? Or December 31st?

The day we choose to start making positive changes in our lives does not matter nearly as much as the determination to start. And when you fail, use that determination to start again. And again, and again until the resolution sticks. That's how positive change happens. As I've struggled to lose weight the last year or so, one of the things I constantly remind myself is that there are going to be plateaus. There will be times when my body is catching up to my new activity level. But if I keep trying, if I determine to keep going one more day, eventually the plateau starts to dip down again.

It's been the same way in my writing. This week I've reached bare minimum my goal for the day, and exceeded my goal significantly once. That's a sort of record for me. I've carved out the time. And today, I wrapped up my first novel of the year. It's one I started back in November, but I'm proud of the huge amount of progress I achieved just in this short little week. And rather than stressing about what comes next, I feel a sort of clarity I've rarely experienced before.

Visual for Joy - first completed novel of 2020.
I'm settling into my new normal. And it feels so good. But I wouldn't have gotten here if I hadn't decided to get back up and try again when I fell. I wouldn't have reached this achievement if I'd gone, "Ope, well, there go my 2020 goals. Maybe next year." (And yes, ope is totally a word.)

I have no doubt there will be days in future when I fall off again. I'm certainly not perfect. And I'm sure there will be times when I feel stressed and unsure. But that's when I'll take my determination by the horns, and get up in the morning to say, "Today, I start again."



~*~*~*~

How has your 2020 gone so far? Have you fallen off any resolution wagons? If you have, don't sweat it. Allow yourself some grace, pick yourself up, and determine to start again. If you haven't, high fives to you! Keep it up!

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