I know some people take issue with the “New Year, New Me!” rallying cry full of optimism and determination shown by a lot of people as they make resolutions to become better versions of themselves because statistically, it tends to be short-lived.
However, I have a differing opinion regarding the well-meaning resolution-making crowd.
I say, any forward motion toward a vision that creates a better version of yourself should be supported, even if the change is more brief than the minutes between a Kardashian’s social media posts.
I’ve always taught my kids, small changes lead to big changes, so don’t be discouraged by tiny steps in the right direction.
Another favorite of mine, “How do you eat a whale?” One bite at a time.
Change that sticks takes time and positive reinforcement. Sometimes we have to fail many times to find the strength we need to finally succeed at our chosen goal.
I made a choice to start drinking more water. I consider myself a solid water drinker on most days but I knew I could improve. I ran across a Tik Tok (my newest pandemic lockdown obsession) featuring a gallon-jug printed with inspirational messages across the body to encourage more chugging throughout the day and I purchased it on impulse.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have zero aptitude for spatial relationships so when the jug arrived, I was stunned at the size.
And when I filled it up, it was heavier than a plump toddler after a big meal.
My family took one look at the jug and started laughing. Okay, yes, it was unwieldy and hard to lug around but I was curious if I could manage drinking a gallon of water in a day’s time.
I’ll cut to the chase: I couldn’t.
A gallon of water is a lot.
My family teased me for failing to get all the water down.
But here’s the thing — it’s not about the finish line.
It’s about the “doing.”
The gallon water jug is a metaphor for one’s goals.
It’s a lot when you stare it down at the very beginning but, sip by sip, you get closer to that end goal until you ultimately achieve what you set out to do.
I didn’t succeed the first day or the second. Truthfully, I haven’t finished that gallon jug once yet.
And I’m smiling.
My success is found in the “doing.” I am drinking more water. It’s fun to reach a new hashmark on the jug and I’m being kind to my body — something I needed to do a long time ago.
Changing our mindset to see the positive, rather than negative of a situation is the key to personal success and happiness.
I don’t look at the half-full water jug and see failure — I see a half-empty water jug and smile because I succeeded in getting halfway to my goal.
So, the next time you find yourself rolling your eyes at someone’s hopeful resolution, try smiling and encouraging them with their goal. You never know how close someone is to actually achieving what they set out to do but might need that kind, supportive word to keep them going.
Happy New Year and many happy “resolutions.”
Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.